As I'm writing this, Instagram has 400 million active monthly users, Twitter has 304 million active monthly users, Facebook had 1.49 billion active monthly users and Snapchat has 200 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users.
It is no surprise then, with such vast numbers of active and engaged people, businesses wish to tap into this market and somehow use the social media generation to convert them into customers. As a millennial myself, and an active social media user, it is clear that brands wish to get into our channels of how we communicate to promote their products and services. It is hard get users to engage with or 'follow' your business, lots of them seem too stiff or boring and with so much other content online it is easy to ignore a brand in favour of another one.
Celebrities are the experts of social media, they know self-promotion better than anyone else out there, and build empires around posting photos and content online- see Kim Kardashian-West or any other celebrity you see in a magazine and wonder why they are actually famous. It will probably because they're experts at their online personas, being liked online can completely change their careers, the amount of 'likes' on Instagram are career making or breaking. In Hollywood, some celebrities don't even post the photos themselves- they pay people six figure salaries to post the right content, at the right time, with the wittiest captions. It's a fast paced business, and these social media experts follow celebrities round wherever they go- from the bathroom selfies to the private jet 'candid' photos, those viewing Instagram photos may feel they're connecting with celebrities and getting to know them in behind the scenes photos. The reality however, is that every casual photo of a celebrity hanging out with their friends usually has a full photoshoot style behind it, complete with hair and makeup and paid product placement featured. Jo Piazza author of Celebrity Inc. speaks of the phenomenon, "There is 100 percent Photoshopping of the pictures. Those pictures are selected to look absolutely perfect. Celebrities are by their very nature aspirational. The Hollywood industrial complex that could be behind one single Instagram could be up to $10,000, but then that celebrity could make $50,000 or a $100,000. So that investment, to make sure it looks perfect, is completely worth it." You can see more and more celebrities being endorsed by businesses as the companies work out how to get into the awareness of young people. An example of this is again Kim Kardashian- with her empire built around her, and the fact she is perceived as incredibly fashion forward, it is doubtful she uses the 'Secret Closet Net' she promotes on her Instagram- though she still gets 455,166 likes on the photo and I'm sure engagement with the brand hugely increased.
Every platform remains different- content must be different on all social media- and business would do well to follow the lead of celebrities in regards to this. Instagram remains sleek glamour shots, whilst Snapchat works in contrast with this, showing shaky videos direct from the celebrities phone which are far less airbrushed and far more personal. Oreo are a brand who manage to use social media to the best of their advantage. It is hard as a brand with a singular product to keep the ideas fresh and fun, however Oreo really seem to manage this. Their twitter is filled with them interacting with fans of the brand, posting videos or gifs which relate to any current news, such as their lunar eclipse photo. Their Instagram is dedicated to polished photos of their biscuit, both taken with a camera, and also digitally drawn, these are mixed in with recipes using their biscuits which keeps people engaged- these recipe posts on average garner much more of a response through a 'like' count and the definitely through the number of comments. Their Vine account shows fun 6 second clips where their biscuits are characters in gifs and videos- they give them a persona and character.
Take some tips from the stars- constantly post, don't go quiet for weeks on end and then reappear- you will be forgotten about and engagement will be low as it won't feel like a friendship which is what lots of people view engagement with brands and celebrities as. If someone posts a nice tweet about your brand, favourite it and retweet it- it will increase awareness that you have happy customers, and may encourage others to leave feedback if they want a retweet from a popular brand too. On Instagram encourage people to take their own photos of your products or using your products so you can repost them- it will stop you from looking overly promotional, and these photos will be more candid as they won't be airbrushed as celebrities may be if they were to be posed using your item- it shows an audience that everyday people enjoy your produce. GoPro do this well where everyday they have a 'photo of the day' using someone's photo from around the world that they have taken using their cameras. Both amature and professional photographers will want the exposure of being promoted by GoPro and send in their snaps- meaning a constant cycle of benefiting the company and the consumer- everyone is happy!
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