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Powerful Endorsements: Celebrity v Social Media

Celebrity endorsements attract a lot of attention. How much attention, you ask? A women’s razor commercial posted on YouTube garnered 400 views a month while a women’s  hair removal cream commercial featuring Alyssa Milano racked in more than 3,600 views a month. That’s four times more exposure, but adding the contract payout to production expenses, the cream commercial was probably more than four times the cost.

And there’s more. Checking out the comments for the Alyssa Milano commercial reveals an unsettling fact: most of the viewers were men more interested in the alluring model than her practical product.

So how can a company benefit from the exposure of celebrity endorsements without paying the high price or hitting the wrong market?

Now, yet again, social media is turning conventional marketing and communication wisdom on its head. Instead of hiring high-power, high-price celebrities to read lines and look pretty, use social media monitoring to find someone who’s actually doing something amazing with your product—something you didn’t expect—and promote the heck out of ‘em.

Need an example? Have a look at The One-A-Day Photo Project, a visual blog updated daily by Salt Lake City photographer Jon Woodbury. He is documenting the subtle, exquisite and awe-inspiring of life and sharing it with the world. What really makes this endeavor unique is that he, with tens of thousands of dollars of photography equipment, has limited himself to using only his Motorola Cliq and on-phone applications for the blog’s picture taking and editing.

Further setting his blog apart, Woodbury is an articulate, analytical and insightful writer. Not all of his photos have captions, but the captions he does include add depth. Following his blog isn’t visual candy; it’s a daily examination of what it means to live.

If nothing else, this would be a great place to advertise certain photography or mobile phone products, but why stop there? The potential could be tapped more fully by building a relationship with the blogger through commenting on posts which would focus more of the conversation on the company’s key messages. With the star blogger as a starting point, a company could create a nation-wide campaign searching for others using the same product in an unusual way. A company could also use that blogger as a door into their specific community.

Here are four other social media product endorsements:

Of course, any kind of sponsorship is regulated by the FTC, and there’s no guarantee that a blogger would find value in corporate feedback. Be sure to understand the blogger’s motives and propose a relationship that is truly mutually beneficial. With standard professional courtesy, expressing the company’s appreciation of the blogger’s work and showing interest in teaming up couldn’t be taken as anything but a compliment.

Through social media, you can find the extraordinary amidst the ordinary: an attention-getting representative that will appeal across the board—someone in whom your demographic will see their own potential realized.

My questions for you are:

How does a PR professional or marketer best reach out to a blogger with this kind of proposition?

How can you find, connect with and promote your own social media celebrities?

About Cision Staff

Cision's research staff makes over 20,000 media updates to Cision's Media Database each day! For more updates and other thought leadership in the industry, follow @Media_Moves.

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