It ‘s a given – Celebrities are social. Transformed by the Red Carpet, interviews and filling the stream via Social Media. Some are using the social universe well to promote… And that’s exactly NOT what I’m talking about.
Do today’s media stars really get, or understand, the power of social media. Do they get the power of engagement that they have at their fingertips? Are they using the relationship they have with those who follow them to change beliefs or effect change? If they are not, then I stand by my belief that they are not social influencers, despite what their rankings might say on Klout or other measurement tools.
As I’ve always maintained, the web is or should be built around people, and not brands. People matter, YOU matter, but brands don’t. Marketers and companies are most successful when they use the web to build relationships because people want to do business with people, not with companies.
Yet it seems that some celebrities are not getting the power and core meaning of the social web. In fact, some of them appear to be marketing themselves as a brand instead of building on the fact that they are a real living, breathing person who is capable of engaging with those who follow them and buy their product. Today’s stars are “selling” themselves as a brand in order to get their “customers” to attend movies, listen to music, watch TV shows, or buy products emblazoned with their name.
Would you buy a product when there is no relationship? Being social means listening and engaging with your followers. But when it comes to some media stars, so many appear to ignore the rules of the social web.
Yes, they try to be popular but they want to do this while still being untouchable and unreachable. They will only engage when they need something from their fans or followers, but not in the sense of true engagement. They are not engaged in a conversation, there are no replies to questions, and there is definitely no relationship.
In an attempt to be helpful, I’m providing a list of top social media rules of engagement for celebrities who just don’t get it:
1. People might actually listen to you, so watch what you say: I’m talking to you, Spike Lee. Yes, I know the Trayvon Martin case has attracted a lot of national attention and it is has certainly raised a lot of issues that need to be discussed. But what were you trying to accomplish by sending the address of his alleged shooter, George Zimmerman, to your 250,000 Twitter followers? Even if it hadn’t turned out that this was the wrong address, what was your intent with that Tweet? Were you hoping that thousands of people would go to George Zimmerman’s house? Wouldn’t it have been better if you had used your power to urge your followers to speak up and be counted and in turn engender a discussion?
2. Use your power for good: This one is for you, Kim Kardashian. With over thirteen million followers you have the ability to effect real change. But what do you choose to do instead? Keep your brother from getting voted off “Dancing With The Stars.” You have a real following and a real chance to be remarkable but instead, you’re using the social network to further galvanize your own fame.
3. Get involved: Oh, Justin, you give me “Bieber Fever,” but not for a good reason. I get all hot and bothered that you have millions of fans and you don’t even tweet yourself – your publicist does it for you. Legions of “Beliebers” want to follow you and you can’t even be bothered to engage with them? I know you can’t build a relationship with each and every fan, but would it hurt to let some of them know their devotion means something to you?
4. Practice what you preach: Oprah, Oprah, Oprah…your OWN TV network premiered the film “Miss Representation” and you’ve been prodding viewers to take the pledge:
“I pledge to use my voice to spread the message of Miss Representation and challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls”
The movie talks about how women have no power in media and you want them to believe that no one can tell you that you need to lose weight or that you are not significant. But your very own “O” magazine is full of weight loss programs, and articles about getting noticed.
5. Just because you’re popular doesn’t mean you are influential: Ashton Kutcher, keep your opinions to yourself. One “little” Tweet about your personal feelings regarding the sex abuse scandal at Penn State and you thought nobody would notice? Yes, you may be popular but that doesn’t mean people like what you have to say. I hope your media consultants enjoy doing your Tweets from now on.
And a Few Who do “Get It”
Ricki Lake: Your engagement in Social Media Girlfriends has inspired you to create your own online community. Congratulations on creating your social community, Friends of Ricki. You’re on the right path for building engagement with your followers. Now follow your own tips and “be inspiring” and “be generous.”
Alyssa Milano: You rock girl! You mobilized a campaign to raise money to support the My Charity: Water clean water project in Ethiopia by asking your Twitter followers to make a donation and spread the word through Twitter and Facebook. You raised $92,568 to help bring clean water to 4,628 people and 928 families in 19 communities. I definitely call you a social influencer because of your ability to effect change for those nineteen communities.
Beverly Johnson: You are a prime example of being a great social network citizen. You actually engage with your followers on Twitter and reply if someone asks a question or simply just wants to talk. You have broken barriers, broken rules and now you are taking on the world of Twitter one follower at a time. Your willingness to be who you are without apology on and offline has been noted and should be emulated by all who are lucky enough to have realized fame.
Seriously, celebrities harness a great deal of social popularity and in turn must use that power carefully. My advice? Learn from their success and mishaps. Engage, involve, validate and show your followers that they matter to you and you will create loyalty that will bring you success and true recognition.