Give brands the star treatment on Twitter

Jeetendr Sehdev | The Economist
Celebrities can teach marketers how to connect in 140 characters or less

Twitter is the voice of brand-savvy Hollywood. Demi Moore posts selfies in order to flaunt her fit bikini body and Ellen DeGeneres gets closer to her fans by sharing her adept pop culture observations on #ClassicJokeMondays.

Using calculated ways that put corporate brands to shame, the smartest celebrities have mastered the art of connecting with people in 140 characters or less. Celebrity tweets, whether shocking or banal, serve as great examples of how to deliver on today’s need for brutally honest brand conversations.

Here is what superstars can teach marketers about using Twitter to create iconic brands that generate fan frenzy:

Let it out: Miley Cyrus recently used Twitter to slam a commenter who responded to a photo of Cyrus with a rapper by pointing out that the Disney star is in fact white. Alec Baldwin became so enraged at one media report of his wife tweeting during the funeral of James Gandolfini that he unleashed a profane Twitter rant.

Cyrus and Baldwin expressed their genuine outrage for everyone in the social sphere to see. Celebrities teach us the importance of speaking your mind on Twitter. Letting it out can be an authentic way of showing your human side and creating advocates through empathy.

Take it off: Reality TV royalty, the Kardashians, prove that Twitter gives fans the ultimate VIP treatment. By posting a steady stream of unfiltered, and sometimes unflattering, behind-the-scenes photographs of Kim getting laser hair removal or her teeth whitened, they provide an all-access, insider look at stardom, flaws and all.

Kim, Kourtney and Khloe have created a truly intimate connection with their audience. Think of Twitter as a game of strip poker – don’t be the only one sitting at the table in your trench coat. Take it off. Show some skin.

Ask for it: Action hero Sylvester Stallone asked his Twitter followers for their opinion on who should direct and star in his next movie, Expendables 3. Celebrities recognize that Twitter is a two-way conversation and there’s no stronger advocate for a brand than those who help create it.

Use Twitter to excite and motivate your audience into action. Ask for their help in designing new packaging or tap into consumer preferences to shape product development. Don’t be afraid to crowdsource new ideas.

Tinseltown has taught us the need to get raw, real and occasionally, undressed on Twitter. In order to master the most intimate form of fan engagement, don’t just be a follower on Twitter – put on a show and you’ll create contagious Twitter fever. 


Jeetendr wrote the op-ed exclusively for The Economist. View the original article here