The Evolving Social Media Strategy of Celebrities.
The impact of social media on modern society is far-reaching and ever-lasting. While we may find ourselves limited to being in one place at one time, social media allows us to expand our network and helps us feel connected to people in every corner of the world, whether we know them in real life, or not. Social media is especially useful in helping celebrities connect with their fans and vice versa. Before social media, celebrities did not have a direct way of communicating with their fans, outside of having staff members reply to adoring fans with boilerplate letters. Now, you can tweet at your favorite sports athlete, or watch as your favorite movie star takes you behind the scenes on the red carpet via Instagram. The level of access that social media provides, not only to celebrities but to friends and family alike, is one of the main benefits of social media. However, recent trends show that celebrities are beginning to change how they use social media, in an effort to gain more control over their own content. Apps like Cameo and Community are growing in popularity and providing new ways to engage with stars. Community is essentially a text-based communication tool for celebrities and artists to interact with their fans more directly than what is allowed on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Founded by Matthew Peltier, the platform first attracted attention back in January 2019 thanks to Ashton Kutcher, who is an investor in the startup. The company now boasts more than 500 A-list celebrities, like the Jonas Brothers and Amy Schumer. Cameo is a service that allows people to pay for personalized video shoutouts from athletes, celebrities and social media influencers. The company, founded in 2018, counts more than 1,400 stars on its roster of talent. A recent article on Fast Company examines why celebrities are beginning to use Community, and why that may be a harbinger of celebrities eschewing traditional social media for more direct engagement methods. Artists like the Jonas Brothers have used it to remind fans to buy tickets or even invite select fans at a concert to a private show in a smaller venue later in the evening. Actress Kerry Washington has used it to ask for food recommendations when visiting a new city, like Toronto. It’s intimate interactions like these that make Community appealing to fans and celebrities alike. Fans gain a more personal access point into the lives of celebrities, and celebrities can use it to promote their brand and reach more people on what can feel like a more authentic level to the app user. The biggest draw of an app like Community is providing intimate and authentic interactions to fans with celebrities that fans cannot find on traditional social media. However, if the app has the success that its founders envision, and its user base grows, how can it guarantee to its users that celebrities will still have time to respond to everyone if the number of fans skyrockets? While it is smart for entrepreneurs to seek out ways to improve engagement and interaction between fans and celebrities, they must consider that every form of social media has a saturation point. The more voices that are added to a social platform, the more voices there will be that are drowned out as a result. The more the platform user base grows, the less intimate it becomes. Community is likely heading to this same point and may need to alter its business model to accommodate this issue. How will it maintain that same level of authenticity, a feature that is one of its main selling points, as the number of users rises? There will be a natural diminishing marginal utility that will be difficult to correct. It’s a question that many operating in the social media and digital spaces should ask as they look to augment the relationship between fan and celebrity. The Fast Company article asks, “Will the internet ever be the same?” The answer is likely, yes, it will be. Apps like Community may be marketed as innovative new forms of social media, but in reality, they may eventually turn out to be more of the same, providing access that will likely be minimized as the app gains popularity.