Social media is one of the biggest advertising methods for businesses today. In fact, according to The CMO Survey, a top marketing survey used to forecast marketing trends, social media will experience a 126% increase in marketing spend over the next five years. It is literally becoming a social expectation. Even the Motion Picture Academy promotes the use of social media to get its audience more involved with the Oscar ceremony. In fact, everything from sports organizations to businesses to charities use social media to reach a bigger audience. This is why it is also becoming more popular among celebrities.
While social media is the biggest marketing trend and one of the largest ways to attract an audience, it also has its downfalls. What can often be a benefit may also be a major pitfall. The following lists five ways that social media improves and decreases value for celebrities.
1. Exposure. The more celebrities stay in the public eye, the more fans remember them. In turn, they gain more fans and job opportunities. For these reasons, publicity remains a big deal for celebrities. Since social media is such a popular aspect in the lives of everyday people, it’s a natural choice for marketers to tap into. However, celebrities sometimes run the risk of overexposure. If a celebrity uses social media to the extreme and frequently reports mundane events, followers tend to become bored or will seek someone more interesting to follow.
2. Accessibility. Social media makes celebrities seem more accessible. Typically, celebrities seem unreachable to the average person. However, social media allows celebrities to interact with fans and reveal their personal thoughts on issues or their own lives. This makes fans feel as if celebrities are just like us. Rather than being paid to promote a product, social media leaves the impression that the celebrity is making his or her own decisions.
However, accessibility also makes celebrities more vulnerable. Unflattering pictures, angry responses, and incorrect information can go viral in an instant. These seemingly minor instances can wreak havoc on a celebrity’s career or life. For instance, Courtney Love has been sued twice for Twitter posts. For one, she had to pay a $430,000 settlement fee. Justine Sacco, former PR director for InterActive Corp., tweeted about visiting Africa and hoping to not catch AIDs. Her facetious tweet helped dub her as the most hated woman on Twitter. A year later, she claims that tweet ruined her life.
3. Credibility. Celebrities can use social media to prove their credibility. They can show that they are genuine and understand their followers. They can answer questions, verify information, or provide sneak peeks to their latest project. However, social media can also discredit a celebrity’s credibility. For instance, celebrities who have voiced their opinions, created fights, or made fleeting comments meant to be humorous have had to apologize for tweets or justify their responses. When they have to rephrase or recant a statement, they lose credibility. It leaves followers to question the celebrity’s motive or what the celebrity truly is about.
4. Promotion. In the United States, hundreds of thousands of adults use the Internet. Among them, approximately 74% use social media. This makes social media a perfect opportunity for celebrities to promote their latest movie, song, and more. It’s also a good place to promote charities they support. Michael J. Fox has had great success using social media to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease through the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
While social media provides a great place to promote a brand, celebrities must be willing to share personal insights. Therefore, they should find a balance between personal and professional information. While fans and followers typically enjoy a celebrity’s work, they also want the personal touch.
5. Discovery. Social media has provided a channel to introduce new talent that may have never been discovered otherwise. For instance, Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube and is one of the biggest celebrities of our time. Social media provides a very public forum to showcase talent. However, if the public does not approve of the talent, it could become a humiliating experience.
As you can see, social media can increase a celebrity’s value in a number of ways. However, these same factors that can increase value can also decrease value. Therefore, celebrities must take social media seriously, carefully, and tactfully in order to get the full benefits from it. Otherwise, one small misstep could become viral in an instant.