How to build a brand with celebrity social media management
Celebrities dominate social media.
Total understatement, right?
Heck, celebrity interactions represent some of the most engaged-with posts on social at large.
Couple that with the fact that nearly all of the most-followed Instagram accounts belong to celebrities (minus Nike, National Geographic and Instagram themselves).
That said, those millions of followers and interactions don’t happen by virtue of being “famous.”
And if you’re responsible for celebrity social media management, you know this all too well.
Much like traditional brands on social media, celebrity accounts are responsible for coming up with a content strategy that engages their target audience.
While we have a more general guide to social media management, in this guide, we’ll break down the basics of celebrity social media management and how the big names out there score engagement.
How does celebrity social media management work?
Spoiler alert: not all celebrities are responsible for their own social accounts.
Well, at least not all the time.
Although some celebrity social media accounts might seem like random musings and updates, others are centered around specific promotions, shout-outs and announcements.
For example, it’s probably safe to say that this tweet from Harry Styles was actually written by Styles himself.
I pledge miniature tacos for all.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) December 6, 2019
However, this promo was more than likely handled by a social media manager.
LOVE ON TOUR 2020.
American Express Presale begins Tuesday, March 17.
Public onsales begin Friday, March 20.https://t.co/TeYOVTBpWE pic.twitter.com/km59CF1Whv
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) March 10, 2020
Celebrity social media management represents a sort of balancing act between marketers and their clients. Although celebrity accounts are almost always entertaining, there’s also the “business” aspect of anyone in show business.
New releases. Tours. Events. The list goes on and on.
Here’s some insight from Connie Chan, Manager of Social Strategy and Marketing at Warner Music Canada, on how the relationship between a social manager and an artist typically works:
“It really depends on the scenario of the post and how comfortable the artist is with social media.
We’ve dealt with a variety of artists who are super comfortable with taking charge of their own accounts and sharing all the content created by labels or themselves.
There are other artists who prefer the label to post only marketing assets on their behalf.”
In short, social media managers are often responsible for adopting their celebrity clients’ voice and working alongside that client to make sure their social presence is “on brand.”
And in the case where you can’t tell whether or not a celebrity runs their own Twitter or Instagram account, well, that’s kind of the point.
The importance of voice for celebrities on social media
Much like a distinct brand voice helps companies stand out from the crowd, the same can be said for the tone and personality of a celebrity on social media.
Chrissy Teigen might be the best example of someone with a distinct, consistent social brand.
Teigen’s off-the-cuff and often humorous tweets often don’t feel like they were written by a celebrity at all. Her human approach to social has made her all the more endearing and relatable to her millions of followers.
John just made me a milkshake without a machine. Like used a spoon to stir it fast? I told him this was wrong. It’s wrong right? It’s nice I got a milkshake but it’s also terrible, a terribly done milkshake?
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 5, 2020
Meanwhile, someone like Mark Ruffalo adopts a more subtle tone while posting the sort of behind-the-scenes content we’d see from a celebrity account.
However, Ruffalo’s account also isn’t afraid to get political or highlight his activism. In a day and age where brands get real, celebrity accounts are expected to do the same.
And so celebrity social media management isn’t about who can be the funniest or post the craziest pictures. Just like brands have different goals and audiences, so do celebrities.
The role of a social manager for a celebrity is to determine what those goals are and how to reach them while communicating with thousands or millions of followers.
How do celebrities and their social managers come to a consensus about what to post, though? They talk about it.
Here’s more from insight from Chan on how marketers achieve a celebrity’s voice:
“To get the best results for managing several social accounts, our team plans a meeting with management and artists face to face to discuss the tone and how they prefer the accounts to be taken care of.
Some artists are very hands-on with day-to-day posts and content, whereas some prefer the social team to dive in and assist with copy and branding.
To make sure we get the best results and stay consistent with the artist’s voice, we send out copy for any social posts in advance to be approved by management.”
Celebrity social media content and best practices
Beyond voice, what types of content should celebrities and their social managers focus on?
Good question! There is no “right” answer, but below are some of the content types that keep followers engaged and on their toes.
News, updates and hype posts
Simply put, if someone followers a celebrity then they want to know what’s going on in their lives. This includes day-to-day updates and likewise big announcements.
For example, most celebrities will hype up their upcoming appearances to build anticipation and get more eyes or ears on whatever they’re doing.
“And you may ask yourself, ‘well…how did I get here?’”
I cannot believe I am lucky enough to host SNL a third time, and that David Byrne will be there too. It’s mind boggling.
Way too many dreams from 1990 are coming true.
Man oh Man. This is a purely happy moment. pic.twitter.com/chi0kMpU7z
— John Mulaney (@mulaney) February 7, 2020
Some celebrities work overtime to keep the hype train going. For example, Lady Gaga took to Twitter days, hours and even minutes before dropping “Stupid Love,” much to the joy of her fans.
My single and music video are dropping in 45 minutes. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be in the corner breathing into a paper bag. #StupidLove #CHROMATICA
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 28, 2020
Another incentive for following a celebrity is the ability to go behind-the-scenes and get sneak peeks of their latest projects.
For example, this backstage photo from the Stranger Things set racked up a staggering 2+ million likes on Instagram.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes posts can be used by themselves to build up a sense of hype. Here’s a great example from one of blink-182’s relatively recent recording sessions.
These types of posts only require a snapshot or quick video on behalf of a celebrity but they can be gold in terms of engagement and buzz.
“Slice of life” content
Perhaps one of the biggest appeals of following a celebrity on social media is to see what they’re “really” like.
Whether or not the reality that celebrities put out there is actually their real lives is a debate for another day. The point is that many celebrities use social media as a channel to post non-promotional content that makes them seem more relatable and human (think: Chrissy Teigen’s tweets).
Sophie Turner’s Instagram Stories are a great example of this, showcasing random moments and snapshots for fans.
Here’s another great example from Kumail Nanjiani, making light of his recent viral photoshoot with a humorous tweet.
Conventional wisdom might tell us that celebrity social media management is all about one-upping other celebrities and trying to flex on fans. The reality? It’s oftentimes the opposite.
Of course, some fans do live for the glitz and glamour of the so-called “good life.”
This is where skills like learning how to take a good Instagram photo and write awesome captions both come in handy.
Not every celebrity post can be iconic, but coupling a photo with a stylish filter and clever caption makes it much more likely to go viral.
Heartwarming and inspirational content
The common thread between much of a celebrity’s content strategy is showing off one’s personality and human side.
Whether through philanthropy, charity or heartwarming moments with fans, celebrities can show that they’re about more than just money and fame.
This begs the question, though: which pieces of content are best for celebrities? Is it those random, off-the-cuff tweets? Photos on the red carpet?
The best way to figure it out is by digging through your analytics. Much like a traditional brand, Chan notes that celebrity accounts take full advantage of social media reporting and tools such as Sprout Social to spot their top-performing posts.
“We use the weekly and monthly reporting tools on Sprout to auto-send to all those involved with the artist accounts. It’s a great way to track how the profiles are doing and what type of copy or caption does best.”
How celebrities on social media interact with fans
The beauty of social media for celebrities is that it provides a platform for stars to interact with fans directly.
Beyond likes and retweets, celebrities can drive engagement and interact with fans simply by asking questions.
Visiting a new town while on tour? Ask about the local cuisine. Looking for something new to watch or read? Again, ask fans!
Lewberger is in Rhode Island for a show tonight and tomorrow (which you should come see) and I need recommendations for all meals and night activities.
— Keith Habersberger (@KeithHabs) November 29, 2019
Celebrities and their managers can keep an eye on mentions and DMs to figure out who to like and shout-out.
And remember: while something as simple as a “Like” or retweet only takes a moment for a celeb, but could very well mean the world to a fan.
What are the go-to social media platforms for celebrities right now?
Good question! Platforms like Twitter and Instagram still remain the go-to communities for celebrities.
Twitter’s more or less been established as the hub for celebrity accounts since its inception. The fact that the platform pretty much thrives on trending topics and quick engagement make it perfect for celebs on-the-go or juggling huge followings.
Meanwhile, Instagram is prime for snapshots and photos. Combined with Instagram Stories, it’s the ultimate platform for giving fans a glimpse into your day-to-day life.
But also note that TikTok is emerging as a channel for celebrities.
Since the platform is still relatively young, celebs are still getting the hang of it. Acting sort of as a spiritual successor to Vine, it’s definitely worth checking out for stars whose audiences are part of the younger crowd. Either way, it’ll be fascinating to see how celebrities continue to adapt to the platform.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Do you have what it takes to build a celebrity brand?
Celebrity accounts are a staple of social media.
In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t follow their favorite actors and musicians via social.
That said, celebrity-level engagement doesn’t happen automatically. It doesn’t happen by accident, either.
Celebrity social media management is a tough gig. Not only are managers responsible for entertaining a massive audience, but also keeping in mind their clients’ tone as they create and promote fresh content.
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