If you want some great lessons on internet marketing for your business, try looking at some celebrities who have made marketing themselves into a successful business.
Whether you like her music or her style or not, it’s undeniable that Lady Gaga is an internet marketing genius. She has done well because she has not only built a distinctive offline brand, but she has incorporated her fans into that brand: they are her “Little Monsters”, who can chat on littlemonsters.com, and even have a special “paws-up” symbol to greet each other.
Lady Gaga also genuinely engages with her hardcore fans, giving backstage tours to those waiting longest in line for tickets, sending pizzas, writing blog comments and messages and so on. She has never forgotten that she needs her fans and spends the time and effort to demonstrate that.
President Obama’s election bids have focussed heavily on social media. In 2012 Obama won the internet marketing war, attracting twice as many ‘likes’ on Facebook as opponent Mitt Romney and twenty times more Twitter retweets.
Obama had a running start in 2012 with his 2008 network already in place. This shows that long-term loyalty and investment is worth cultivating. His team also understood how to target messages at “opinion leaders” – people who post political messages on social media – and provide them with shareable content that could sway the opinions of their friends and family. They also repeatedly tweaked and tested buttons and graphics to hone down to the most shared and most popular, squeezing the extra few percent of shares out of their network.
Surely there is no better cross-media marketing machine than the Kardashian family. They’ve come from being small-time TV reality stars to being superstars, using social media to effectively show off their extravagant lifestyles and to promote their own brands of clothing, perfume and homewares.
The Kardashians succeed because they are open to having apparently-honest and genuine conversations amongst themselves in public, giving their followers a real sense of being insiders. They’re also great at syndicating their content across different social media platforms without simply pumping identical content out everywhere at the same time.
Branson isn’t only a fantastically successful businessman, he understands how to reach people with social media, which he uses not only to have fun and keep his profile active but to promote both his businesses and charitable endeavours. He does most of his tweeting himself, surprisingly, but adding weight to the theory that what resonates with people is authenticity.
Coates isn’t a big name this side of the pond but his thought-provoking essays at the intersection of race and politics in America for The Atlantic (a magazine founded 1857 which now has a strong online presence) have a global following. He shows that fearlessly talking about difficult subjects with a sensitive and authentic viewpoint can capture hearts and minds.