Just what constitutes a person as a “celebrity” these days is up for debate. Indeed, there are hundreds of individuals who have gained national (or even worldwide) fame for posting content on social media. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram “stars” are different from “traditional” celebrities, who tend to make a significant portion of income from record deals, movie contracts, etc. Instead, social media influencers make most of their income through sponsorships. (Rarely are social media influencers featured in summer blockbusters.) This raises the question: should businesses partner with these celebrities? Here, we’ll take a closer look at how businesses and social media celebs interact, and what it takes to form a working partnership between the two parties:
Partnering with an Influencer is a Risk
Businesses should understand that teaming up with any sort of celebrity carries a degree of risk. First, a given sponsorship simply may not prove very effective. Worse, though, businesses that partner with social media influencers can have their reputations damaged by proxy. Consider the fact that HP abruptly dropped their sponsorship of content creator, Olivia Jade Giannulli, following her recent college admissions scandal as an example.
Because of the risks associated with third-party partners, large companies need to have a strong web presence management system in place before they begin celebrity outreach. Otherwise, those businesses may be unaware of threats to their brand image on social media.
Best Practices for Partnering with Influencers
Despite the inherent risk of a celebrity endorsement on social media, hundreds of businesses are testing the waters all the same. And some business-influencer partnerships are hugely beneficial –– for both parties. A few ways to ensure your company enjoys a successful venture with an influencer include:
- Identify a common audience. Ideally, both a business and an influencer should be interested in the same target market. For instance, it makes sense for a kitchenware company to partner with a chef who posts videos on YouTube. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get this wrong.
- Be transparent. Modern consumers are very savvy; they can tell when an influencer is trying to push a product. Don’t try and hide your affiliation –– instead be transparent about your sponsorship.
- Keep it fun. Social media influencers are entertainers, and, as such, they should be allowed to have fun with advertising a product or service.
It’s likely that more and more businesses will begin to strike deals with YouTube and Instagram stars. When done well, these partnerships can offer significant advantages to all involved. However, they should be handled with care to ensure positive outcomes.