If you’re on Facebook or Twitter (and we hope you are!), it’s almost a certainty that you follow at least one celebrity. Even the guy at your office who swears he hates reality TV and thinks the concept of ‘celebrity’ is ruining civilization probably follows Stephen Colbert on Twitter. As a medium, social media is the only place both brands and celebrities are communicating, in real-time, with their audiences. It was only a matter of time before brands sought the help of celebrities online. But there’s a right and wrong way to embark on a ‘celebritized’ social media effort. In this issue of The 511, we’ll share five things you need to know about harnessing the power of celebrity on social media.

For more information on Hunter PR’s Entertainment Department, click here. And to read a recent PR News blog post from our Senior Entertainment Specialist Sam Turtle about the evolving relationship between brands and celebrities, click here.


Click the thumbnails above to view Beyonce's Pepsi commercial or learn more about Kelly Clarkson's trip to Peru with Green Mountain Coffee.

Enlist a celebrity to grow your brand's social reach.

Social media has been called a numbers game (though we’d argue it’s storytelling that matters most), and brands are always looking for creative ways to drive more traffic to their social sites and deeper engagement from their audience. One of the swiftest ways to extend the reach of a brand’s social presence is by bringing a celebrity into the mix. Services, such as ad.ly, provide standalone opportunities for brands to utilize a celebrity to raise awareness about a particular product or campaign. Celebrities on the ad.ly roster can approve (or deny) offers to share brand messages with their social audiences. This tactic can be especially useful if you’ve created an online destination or piece of dedicated content that is in need of traffic or views. For companies with strapped social budgets, a one-off digital endorsement makes testing the waters of celebrity engagement a possibility.

Celebrities can foster deep social engagement.

It’s hardly groundbreaking news that fans are interested in the opportunity to engage with their favorite celebrity. But bringing that opportunity online is a newer phenomenon. Brands that create once-in-a-lifetime moments for their audience stand a much better chance at keeping that consumer a fan for life than a brand that does nothing but use social media to sell, sell, sell. Green Mountain Coffee recently partnered with Kelly Clarkson and took the pop star on a trip to Peru to witness, first-hand, the benefits a Fair Trade approach has on both coffee drinkers and the farmers that source the beans. Upon her return home, Green Mountain Coffee staged a live concert event in NYC for some of Kelly’s biggest fans. To enter, Facebook users simply visited an app on the Green Mountain Coffee Facebook page to learn more about Clarkson’s trip and the benefits of Fair Trade. The brand took the partnership one step further by broadcasting Clarkson’s concert to an even wider audience via the brand’s Google+ page. A few lucky fans earned a digital ‘meet and greet’ via a personal Google+ hangout with the singer. Once-in-a-lifetime experience? Check. Positive use of a branded social channel? Double check.

LeveragE a celebrity partnership to navigate the two-way street that traditional & social media have become.

When Hunter PR client Hasbro was looking to reinvent the iconic game of Twister, they turned to another icon—Britney Spears—to help breathe new life into the product. The resulting creation was Twister Dance, a modernized (and digitized) version of the classic game, complete with LED lights and a cable to connect your personal music player. Twister Dance comes with five songs, including a remix of Spears’ song ‘Till the World Ends.’ Hasbro announced its partnership with Spears during the Toy Industry Association’s Toy Fair in New York City. The annual event draws the attention of traditional news outlets but is watched closely by toy fans across the country. Sharing word of the product – and accompanying Spears partnership – during this event allowed the brand to reach millions of consumers through both traditional news stories and considerable social media chatter. Recognizing the social influence of a celebrity like Ms. Spears, Hasbro and Hunter PR utilized her social channels to share sneak peeks of the product and drive traffic to Twister’s own social channels. Designing this strategic flow of information helped the brand cross the 1,000,000-fan mark on Facebook during the height of the product roll out. The major lesson here for marketers is this: if you’re looking for a truly game-changing entertainment integration, don’t just ask a celebrity to relay a message; make them part of the message.

Unlock the power of the super fan.

One celebrity strategy often overlooked by brands is harnessing the power of a celebrity's fan base. While entertainment news sites draw huge numbers of eyeballs, some of the most consistently trafficked – and engaged – sites are geared toward a specific celebrity and his or her fans. Introducing: the fan site! Take the Beyonce Network, for instance. From photo shoots to vacations, nearly all facets of Ms. Knowles’ life are chronicled here. PR folks should identify the potential these sites represent and add them to targeted media lists. What these websites lack in mastheads and formal editor titles, they make up for in message amplification and impassioned engagement. If 500 Beyonce fans read about her partnership with Pepsi on the aforementioned fan site, and then half of those folks tweet or post the news to Tumblr, the followers and friends of those fans have been reached by brand news they may not have otherwise received.

I saw @CadyHeron wearing army pants and flip-flops, so I bought army pants and flip-flops.

Yes, that’s a line from Mean Girls, but the point is well made in the film, and it’s true online, as well. Social media plays a major role in moving consumers through the purchasing funnel, because the medium touches nearly every stage of the process. And a celebrity endorsement via social media speeds things up further. For a real-world example, let’s examine NBC’s Fashion Star. The reality show gives emerging designers an opportunity to showcase designs in front of buyers from top retailers. By the time episodes air, the items are available for instant purchase in store and online. The show did an excellent job of blending first and second screen engagement, as well as the power of celebrity, to drive viewers to digital points of purchase. Celebrity mentors championed designs on air and via social media. These online endorsements prompted additional social engagement from consumers in the form of their own tweets, pins and posts. Additionally, the show’s Straight From the Runway Pinterest board features designs that were green lit on air. Naturally, referral links from the pins drive users straight to the point of purchase.

has a wealth of
experience in creating and executing customized social and digital media programs—from Twitter parties and Facebook contests, to webcasts and mobile app development. Our knowledge of social and digital media is both wide and deep—every account staff member at Hunter PR serves on one of our agency’s 10 task forces, each dedicated to a particular facet of social and digital media:
• Blogs
• Community Managers
• Emerging Technologies
• Geo-Social
• Microblogs

• Mobile
• Monitoring & Measurement
• Online Video
• Social Networks


Contact our Social and Digital Media Practice leader, Donetta Allen, at The511@hunterpr.com

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