Stacy Jones

Creating Celebrity Driven Social Media Campaigns To Engage Consumers


Video Transcription

Hello. Today I’m going to tell you about ways brands can create cost-affordable and successful celebrity social media campaigns. During and directly following today’s webinar, you can reach out with questions to me through my Twitter account @Hollywood_PR. Again, that’s @Hollywood_PR. Please hashtag #outreachmarketing.

Partnering with a celebrity is one of the best ways for a brand to reach an already-engaged and targeted audience and a strategy that highly influences future consumer purchase decisions based on that association. Brands across all category types including Smartwater, Omega, Nikon, TAG Heuer, Popchips, Revlon and Pepsi understand that celebrity endorsements result in consumer sales.

However, traditional celebrity endorsement campaigns have always been attached to very high-dollar price tags ranging in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Today, social media provides brands the ability to create major impact in value with a celebrity partnership with far less sticker shock. With consumer spending an average of 4.4 hours of leisure time daily, actively engaged in content on their many, many screens, paying celebrities to post a shout-on on social media or interact through video or contests is now a mainstay of brand marketing. The right social media plan is cost-effective and easily activated with a short time window to see those results.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are the most trusted form of advertising, and combined with a high influence celebrities have on consumers, the appeal of celebrity social posts is tremendous. With a celebrity influencer behind a brand posting about a product, there’s not only an aspirational element, but the post is actually more trusted amongst consumers. This is based on research Nielson conducted that found that not only do an overwhelming 70 percent of consumers trust in recommendations from their favorite celebrities, celebrity followers are more likely to engage, re-share and recall than an average adult user.

With social media having become such a tremendous PR force, the power of a celebrity is amplified across each social platform and by how numerous the celebrity’s likes and follows are.

Creating the right celebrity social media plan is based on a number of factors. Here are 15 steps brand managers should take to strategize, select and procure a celebrity advocate on social media.

Number one: determining the audience. No matter what the objectives of the brand are, the first step is always going to be to determine who the target audience is. What are their habits? What are their needs and wants? What social media platforms do they use and how do they use them? Though not an easy task and one that can require research, this is the most important step to ensure the campaign is a success and will ultimately create the overall skeleton structure of who to hire and what social platforms to utilize.

Number two: determine the budget. Choose the budget for the program. There is no point in spending time pursuing celebrities outside of your budget range, and there’s a vast range of fees between talent types, ranging from a few thousand to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. There’s no magic formula nor do the words “see pm” exist in celebrity social media, and there’s no set pricing based on the number of followers.

Paid celebrity posts differ from a traditional paid digital ad campaign where max budgets are established based on follow or click rate. The flat fee is paid and is based generally on four factors, the first being the celebrity’s caliber. An A-lister will always be sky-high and not necessarily the right fit. Secondly, the celebrity’s fan base reach, which is typically determined by how active they are on each social media platform on a daily basis. Three: by what your brand wants the celebrity to do with the post and how many posts is part of the campaign. Fourth, of course, that other factor: competition in the marketplace for the celebrity. How many other brands are trying to get the celebrity to do the same thing you are?

Very few if any celebrities will embrace a backend fee deal off of sales generated by their social posts tied to the brand. Celebrities aren’t all that interested in stock options based on future speculation without an upfront cash fee involved either. Your goal is to understand that desired outcome in order to determine what budget is worth putting against the campaign. Too low and the entire campaign may be a miss. Too high and it may be too overpowering for what is realistically needed to push consumers into a purchasing mode.

Number three: which celebrity to choose. A-listers need not necessarily apply. Many B, C, D-listers or even Internet sensations have tremendous social media strength and are actually more relatable to fans than those celebrities so far up on a pedestal that a partnership won’t feel realistic and will just feel like big bucks were spent. Decide what type of celebrity is the best fit. Is it a musician, an athlete, and actor or personality, a specific age or a certain personality type? Figure out what the overall objective is versus playing it too safe in order to reach and engage that new audience. Look to see whom the marketing demo targeted favors and already follows. Also look to see where your brand may already have natural celebrity advocates. Past celebrity event lounges where engagement has occurred and testimonials secured is a great place to start and also key ways into producing these types of events.

Make sure the chosen celebrity has a strong fan base — many of the larger names don’t. That’s why we say A-listers are not necessarily the ones you want — and is active and not silent on the preferred social media sites. Keep in mind that if a talent is extremely active across multiple platforms and shares one post across all of them, the price tag will significantly increase. Also determine if the celebrity has a following that shows engagement. This largely is based on celebrity’s own posting and how hard they try to engage back with their fan base. Regardless, make sure the entire brand team agrees on the chosen celebrity before activating and do research to make sure there are no hidden red flags or deal breakers from the celebrity’s past. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the celebrity is the right fit for the brand and to be someone who’s open to working with the brand versus taking money and quickly creating a single social media post. The ideal is to find a partner for the campaign in the truest sense of the word.

Number four: which social platforms. The chosen celebrity should already be active on the social media channels favored for the campaign, which will traditionally be Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Having celebrities post messaging on more than one platform is ideal, but each post should not be exactly the same. The platform should also be one that your brand is active on. Having celebrity post to a Twitter account and not having an active brand Twitter account defeats the purpose entirely.

Number five: creating the post. You can keep it authentic and fun or you can keep it serious and engaging, but you always need to keep it relatable. Depending upon the overall goal, ensure the messaging of the partnership feels real to fans. Whatever the marketing campaign make sure the association is based on a realistic partnership. The celebrity should have a natural tie to the brand that allows the partnership to be believed by fans. Make sure you build an authentic interaction that isn’t over the top and also that the post is not too ad-like and robotic in feel. It is important to make it seem organic, straight from the celebrity’s own mind and mouth while ensuring everything’s obtained that the brand needs including proper mentions and hashtags.

Often brand managers mistakenly write posts in a brand-centric, corporate tone, very officious, not remembering that the celebrity is the third party, totally unaffiliated with your brand. Instead, the goal is to put the post in the appropriate celebrity’s own voice. It is proven that the more organic posts are more impactful and embraced by celebrity fans and followers. Ideally, work with the celebrity’s team to create that right scripting that supports the authenticity of the partnership.

Number six: photos, videos and contests. A simple post can be amplified with a photo or video and provide shareable content to fans. Photos and videos allow the post to come to life and typically resonate at a higher level than text alone. A picture of the celebrity with the brand also serves as a fantastic endorsement tool. It will garner high share rates not only from consumers but also media. If you can have the celebrity create the video versus just sharing your content that’s already created, it’s even better yet. A contest that provides fans with a number of ways to enter through heightened share drastically increases numbers and provides more interaction than a simple tag post. The contest is going to need to have more elements put in place around it. You’re also going to need to add in legal fee costs to safeguard the sweepstakes. Additionally, it’s worth the extra cost to build out a microsite on your brand’s social media sites to act as a home for the contest and to drive traffic back to.

Building in an altruistic angle for the celebrity partnership may allow a partnership with a celebrity that was formerly out of your budget’s league. It may also ensure the celebrity will embrace the campaign more and be more open to supporting your brand. From a consumer’s point of view, having a charity benefit in some way will not only bring more sharing of the content, but it also helps create a bridge uniting the celebrity and brand together in a common cause, making the partnership more believable and more authentic. This also provides a nice story angle for press release development and media pitching.

Number eight: the right timing. Plan the launch or the partnership for a time frame where there’s not expected celebrity or consumer clutter. This means targeting timeframes that are not already laden with celebrity and entertainment posts such as award seasons or any holiday. While you can’t protect from the unknown, you can do your best to time a campaign to be most likely to succeed.

Number nine: extending the campaign. Look for ways to continue the celebrity’s engagement with fans and build a long-term relationship after proof of success with this campaign. Celebrity appearances, contests with meet-and-greets, additional social media postings or even point-of-sale branding initiatives at retail should be considered. This is when the partnership can truly turn into an endorsement platform and grow.

Number 10: How many posts and where? Realistically determine how much social media is needed. Is it one post or a series of posts? A solitary social media post by a celebrity with a call-out to the brand can lead to significant leads in a very short period of time. Multiple posts on a variety of platforms will reach a wider demographic and encourage higher engagement. Regardless, either will result in increased awareness, exposure, brand clout and ultimately sales. By ensuring that not a single step is missed from the planning stages to the final press of the post button, there’s a great potential to launch a brand and its success is a result of the powerful aspirational celebrity association.

Number 11: reaching out to talent. When all of the above steps are completed, it’s time to reach out and make an offer. Make sure all of the required asks are already built in as additional asks not being made without an offer of additional monetary compensation. I cannot say this enough times. Make sure you have your ducks all lined in a row and know exactly what you want from the celebrity before you make that offer. Celebrities are notorious for not adding on more without raising the budget if a request comes in later even on items that may have easily been included if not included in the first offer. The best option is to ask for the moon within reason and then continue to negotiate the final terms. Know what the ask of the talent is going to be before a phone call is made or email sent. Be prepared to back up why that specific celebrity is a good fit to management. This is the time to sell the partnership in a big way.

When you have your offer letter ready, it’s time to start making phone calls. Knowing who to speak with is a major component of your celebrity partnership program. If you need resources to provide you with contact names and numbers, some of the better ones include IMDbPro, WhoRepresents and Contact Any Celebrity.

Number 12: Make the offer. Create an offer letter outlining the deal points and set a deadline on receiving answers before sending. The letter states what the talent is required to strategically do — social media, post number, platforms, other campaign involvement, hashtags, brand messaging call-outs, and any other relevant component thought of. The goal is for the brand manager to create a well-thought-out short document to send that details the entire ask of a celebrity, the budget willing to be paid and any special request needed including even that signed photo for the boss. Then get the agreement in writing. Make sure any deal you negotiate is papered outlining every deal point.

Number 13: Educate the talent and management. Once contracts are signed and the deal is fully negotiated, it’s time to make sure the talent actually knows enough about the brand to feel in the know. Provide the talent and their management with a cheat sheet about the ideal social media posts — who the brand is and what the campaign goal is and what the brand stands for. Having the celebrity be on the team versus left in the dark is beyond value. They’re able to help craft resonating and true-to-voice messaging. Also make sure they have the correct handle and hashtags. If there’s a social platform where the brand does not have presence, still include the correct hashtags as otherwise the celebrity in the heat of the moment might choose to make it up or even call out the wrong brand.

Number 14: Interact. You’ve set the date and the campaign is launched. Now what? Work behind the scenes to make sure that fans that interact are retweeted and even direct messaged by your brand. If you want the celebrity to interact with fans, this needed to have been a part of your original ask. This is a major component of any social media program and should always be activated. Retweet and reply to others’ posts in order to acknowledge participation and derive more conversation.

Finally, number 15: Repurpose and continue the interaction. Once the social flurries died down, don’t let all the social interaction conversation go the waste. Utilize positive quotes generated from the celebrity or even fans as testimonials either to repost later or to include on the brand’s website. Reach out to the media to create a story about the partnership. Provide any content the celebrity created — remember that was part of your original ask — along with assets that may be unique to help support the story.

There are a lot of steps to making sure a celebrity social media campaign goes off without a hitch. When the best option for brand managers is to create a successful partnership utilizing celebrities for social media, work with an entertainment agency to research the options and guide the processes. Make sure the agency has strong relationships, a strategic approach and excellent knowledge of Hollywood. The agency will know what extras can be negotiated, saving your brand dollars along with a tremendous amount of time, and crafting a successful social media campaign utilizing the right celebrity that meets both the budget and consumer target, all resulting in you being the star of your company for your role in the campaign.

If you need a place to start, remember to determine the desired end result and then build the campaign plan backwards to best develop a comprehensive plan that will be a surefire win. Whether you are working with an agency or handling yourself, you will need to figure out each of the steps listed before proceeding.

That concludes our webinar for today. If you have any questions, please reach out to me via Twitter @Hollywood_PR. Again that’s @Hollywood_PR and hashtag #outreachmarketing. I look forward to answering your questions.