Today, the Wall Street Journal brought up a topic that often resonates with blogging community — how celebrities use social media as a means of self promotion, and ultimately advertisement. Various platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr have been harnessed as a vehicle for PR and marketing agencies to churn out material for their fans to feast on, but are also used as advertisement for companies.
From Jeremy Lin to Madonna, celebrities are uploading ‘insider’ photos, quick tips, and ‘must-have’ products, drawing followers and fans in by giving them a glimpse of their esoteric lives — a perfect platform for advertisers to capitalize on.
“You have to have a social-media presence if you want to have a successful business,” says actress Jessica Alba to WSJ, who has 3.2 million followers on Twitter, 4.5 million subscribers to her Facebook page and nearly a half-million followers on Instagram (where she also promotes her brand The Honest Company).
The celebrity social media trend has spilled over to fashion blogging.
Within the last year Olivia Palermo and Lauren Conrad launched their own style blogs. Olivia Palermo winning a “Bloglovin’ Award” for best newcomer of the year thanked her “team” in her acceptance speech. With the Lauren Conrad blog launch, we too were excited about celebrity blogs, as it seemed to be some sort of legitimization of the medium. This trend led us to speak about this topic more in depth to EQAL media, a company responsible for such sites like JenniferLopez.com, Bethenny.com, ElizabethBanks.com, ToriSpelling.com, and LaurenConrad.com, more about the business behind the celebrity blog.
Douglas Strasnick, Senior Vice President, Business Development & Partner Strategy for EQAL Media Networks admits, “…we are able to take advantage of the celebrity or brand’s projects, interests and events so the sites have relevance in the day and the hour that the activities are happening. Sometimes this level of attention requires more involvement than others so that we can provide the best level of service and monetization opportunities.”
So if the purpose of the blogs and social media is to monetize, one has to wonder, how involved are these celebs with the content? Surely, they are ones that have to pose in “behind the scenes” phone shots, but do they even have time to be a voice on their own media?
How is a celebrity blog produced?
Rachel Rosenbloom, Vice President of Celebrity Influencer Networks says, “Each site is customized and directed by the celebrity or brand it represents. The look, feel and content is different for each property. The media network is a community that builds around the personality of the celebrity or brand through frequent original posts, photos, comments and other functions of the social network that the proprietary umbrella platform provides. ”
Jason Black, Vice President of Celebrity Influencer Networks states, “EQAL sites are the official properties of the celebrity partners – this is their content. When a post comes from a celebrity, it comes from that celebrity. Sometimes, there will be posts from ‘the team’ and that is clearly marked as such.”
But Robert Weiss, the Chief Operating Officer for the company, also notes, “We have a team of people who make the sites run from top to bottom. We do everything in house from design to build to edit to sales, marketing, community moderation, search/analytics, business affairs, business development, marketing, publicity and social media strategy.”
Black explains further, “We assist with social media for these blogs – not speaking inauthentically ‘as’ the person, but suggesting hashtags, making sure handles are being used, or helping to trim a thought that exceeds 140 characters into a viable tweet. Each celebrities team is responsible for the content on the site as well as the social media updates, in tandem.”
Sounds like there’s quite a production behind each post, Facebook update, or even tweet. What do you think about companies capitalizing on blogging and celebrities? Can we trust that their content is authentic? Or is it one multi-platform billboard?
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