You probably know J.Lo as singer and actress. But did you know that she’s also the proprietor of a restaurant, perfume and clothing line, as well as her own TV production company? The remarkable Mr Trump owns Trump Hotel Las Vegas, Trump Park Avenue, and Trump World Tower (the clue’s in the name) but with the rights to The Apprentice as well as Miss Universe, he’s also a media mogul. 

Celebrities are no longer limited to a particular career path; they can be actors, musicians, stylists, models all at once. And to avoid confusing their supporters, or splitting their fanbase, they’re thinking more like brands. So when it comes to generating engagement from fans, businesses can learn a great deal. What do they do in particular that guarantees maximum engagement?

1. Celebs are honest (sort of)

Authenticity is the most important quality a personal and professional brand can have. Of course it’s a word bandied about so often, it ends up feeling as empty as Kimye’s bookshelf. It is, however, quite simple to achieve: live the values you espouse. Beyoncé’s social media channels let her embody the values championed by her Beygood campaign. On Facebook, she has 66 million followers and on Instagram, she has over 20 million. She busies herself looking beautiful, maternal, and important. No need to tell, just show. And the fans respond adoringly.

Authenticity is the most important quality a personal and professional brand can have. - Highlight to share -

2. Celebs choose their platform carefully

Guess how many Facebook followers Vin Diesel has? A cool 93 million. The actor doesn’t use a social media team like other celebrities, he posts himself. And Facebook makes sense. He’s not known as a wordsmith so he doesn’t use Twitter; he’s not an aesthete, so he doesn’t use Instagram. Facebook is the ideal middle ground and, more importantly, that’s where his fans are. When Paul Walker died, he left an emotional message about his costar and friend. This honesty and vulnerability resonates well with followers.

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Back to Queen Bey. Although she’s only tweeted eight times, she has 14 million followers. Pretty good going? But she’s not going to start tweeting more. As her social media manager commented, ‘an artist needs to be comfortable with the information that is being given to the world.’ Simply put, Queen Bey ain’t a fan of the Tweet. She also has limited time. Given ‘she is aware of and approves every piece of content that goes everywhere all the time’, it would be impossible for her to curate every piece of content on every platform.

3. Celebs engage with their fans – and let fans engage with them

Taylor Swift could serve as a case study in herself. She’s always genuine as she tweets and instagrams herself. She chooses her platform carefully; if the note to Apple had been condensed into 140 characters it would have seemed like ineffective sniping. The blog post was considered, thoughtful, and effective. Most importantly, she engages with fans. She comments on fans’ profiles, answers questions, shows off all her offline engagement with fans and drops lyrics from upcoming albums.

Engagement doesn't always have to be nice. And if you're responding to feedback, stand up for yourself. - Highlight to share -

Engagement doesn’t always have to be nice. And if you’re responding to feedback, stand up for yourself. Atlantic Records set up a Twitter account for the sappy musician James Blunt. But rather than engaging with fans, he decided to take on his haters. All negative feedback on Twitter was rewarded with a snappy retort.

Russell Brand also managed to turn around the #parklife backlash he faced after his magnum opus Revolution was ridiculed. He turned to Twitter and Youtube. If you don’t like Russell Brand, you’ll find anything he does, including this, annoying. But at least he had the spunk to face his critics.

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What businesses can learn from celebs when it comes to user-generated content