Turn on the TV, check Facebook, look at an ad in print or online and there’s a good chance you’ll see a celebrity endorsing a product. This very common marketing practice has been around for decades and has only picked up more traction in today’s social media driven environment. Add to our culture’s fascination with celebrities and their lives, social media has enabled many people to connect and keep up with their favorite celebs on a daily basis. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other social media networks, a celebrity now has instant access to thousands, if not millions, of fans to share things about their life, but also to promote themselves, their beliefs, and also products and companies.
Unfortunately for many businesses, when it comes to utilizing celebrity endorsements, there is still a misconception that it’s too expensive to justify or just not in their budget. While this could be considered true back in the 80s, 90s, and throughout the early 2000s, these days it can cost less (depending on the celebrity) than what some small businesses spend on Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns in a few months or a billboard in Boston for 4 weeks. While every business is different, and marketing goals vary depending on factors, for many, especially those promoting a product, it is at least worth considering if a celebrity endorsement is right for them.
In addition to being affordable, celebrity endorsements through social media networks bring a slew of advantages over traditional social media marketing. First and foremost is reach. There’s a very good chance that the celebrity you get to endorse your product or company has more followers than your business. For those familiar with Facebook, we know that when we make a post, it doesn’t reach our entire network but instead to a percentage, at least without paying to “boost” the post. While most will pay for the “boost” in campaigns involving celebrity endorsements, you’re still going to reach a larger number of people either way.
Now what about the people you are going to reach? These are people actively following the celebrity, so they are actually paying attention to what is being posted. It’s not like an ad to the side of their posts, this is part of the content they generate, which gets it right in front of their followers, many of whom who take opinions of the celebrities they follow into consideration when making decisions. This is why celebrity endorsements for large businesses, politics, and definitely charities have been common for a long time.
There are still other factors one should take into account when selecting the right celebrity to endorse their company or product. While price will be a consideration most will immediately think about, there’s something more important for success. Having a million followers is great, but after talking to Bob Cefail (owner of CshopTV), I’ve learned there are three key points to think about.
The first thing to consider, is the celebrity the right fit for your product and is your product the right fit for the celebrity? You don’t sell diamond necklaces in a golf equipment store, likewise you don’t have a young female celebrity endorsing men’s healthcare products on social media. When I discussed product endorsement with Bob Cefail I was told, “You want a product that the celebrity would actually use. Their followers want to know about them so a product they’d use is interesting. If it’s something that just feels like it’s just straight up promoting a product it loses its impact on the audience.”
The second, are these followers your demographic? If a celebrity has 5 million followers, there will most likely be at least some that match the demographic you are seeking, but if it’s not a large percentage of their group it might be best to rethink the celebrity you want to use. This is the normal factors you have to consider in all forms of marketing, but with celebrity endorsements on social media you can get really great figures up front to help you make the right decision for your company.
Lastly, and possibly one of the most import, is how does this celebrity interact with their followers? There are some that make obligatory posts to keep their presence on social media, but then there are those that actually work to build a relationship with their followers through social media. As a fan of the CW’s “Arrow”, I’d be amiss if I didn’t say that Stephen Amell is a wonderful example of building relationship with fans through social media. He host’s live Q&As, regularly updates about all sorts of things that are important to him but also has regular life updates and makes goody posts. He answers comments, posts videos from the set of the show and while out on convention tours. Followers of Stephen Amell (and many of the other various CW shows casts) are genuinely engaged and interested in what’s coming next. When I used discussed this with Bob Cefail he informed me, “There is nothing better than an actively engaged celebrity. You find that their followers feel they can actually relate to the celebrity as a regular person on some levels and not just someone they see in the limelight.”
While celebrity endorsements through social media networks might not be for everyone, it’s something that any business can consider and explore the many options available.