Celebrity + Authenticity in Social Media

a research blog

Case study #4 – @KimKardashian and @CharlieSheen

Ten thousand dollars per tweet.

That is how much brands pay Kim Kardashian to tweet about them. It should make sense: Kim not only has over 13 million followers, and, unlike other celebrities, she tweets about products without tagging them as “sponsored tweets”. You never really know if it’s Kim stating that she loves Pastor Brad’s book “The Four Laws of Forgiveness” or if she is being paid to say that. But apparently, that is not important for her 13 million followers – they will not stop following Kim just because they are not sure about the honesty of her tweets.

Charlie Sheen, with over 2 million followers, got $50,000 for a campaign that yes, had a hashtag #ad showing that it was a paid one. And even so, it worked really well. The said campaign was for Internships.com and it got them 412,000 clicks in 48 hours and a lot of buzz from the press. Ad.ly CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh states that these results are not surprising. In his own words: “Celebrities are the driving force in social media. Celebrities are the new prime time.” They certainly do get paid as if they are prime time. Even if it is hard to measure the Return of Investment, the exposure these companies get could be worth what they are paying for. As in every marketing campaign, the brand needs to understand its own goal on hiring a celebrity. Exposure is easy to measure online, but how much of that turned into sales? It is hard to tell.

In 2010, Yahoo’s research scientist stated at the Advertising Age’s Digital conference: “Stop paying Kim Kardashian $10,000 per tweet. If I had a fixed budget, I could get more value from a small amount of very influential [influencers], or a lot of smaller influencers, on Twitter. If you recruit enough people who, on average, influence just one other person, you could get a much better return on investment if you aggregated them and altogether paid them a tenth of what Kardashian gets.” But he admits that it is important to understand how much value the top influencers have. Either way, Watts explains that it is more reliable to advertise from many-to-many connections than by just a few highly connected individuals.

Both sides have a point. Paying for a celebrity to tweet is no different than paying a celebrity to advertise for your brand anywhere, and the exposure it gets is indisputable. But for social media, specially in platforms that privilege conversation and influences, it could be better and cheaper to engage with your customers than make them aware of your presence through celebrities.






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This entry was posted on April 20, 2012 by .

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