How To Successfully Leverage Celebrities In Your Social Media Strategy

By Tiffany Hopkins

Brands partnering with celebrities for endorsement deals is nothing new. What is new is the way brands are leveraging their celebrity relationships by incorporating them into their social media strategy.

With thousands, if not millions, of followers, celebrities have the ability to boost a brand’s own following and engagement. Check out how the three brands below are using their celebrity partners in social.

1) Adidas Basketball: When NBA superstar and Adidas spokesperson Derrick Rose tore his ACL last year, both his basketball season and the opportunity to play for the US Men’s Basketball team in the London Olympic Games were cut short.  With that went Adidas Basketball's marketing strategy which was  built around Rose leading the Chicago Bulls to the NBA Playoffs and his bid to win gold at the Olympics. Instead of throwing in the towel, the brand crafted a campaign titled “The Return” which documented Rose’s recovery via a series of videos shared across the brand’s social media properties as well as a dedicated micro-site. To date, the docu-series has garnered over 3.3 million views on YouTube and generated countless conversations on Twitter.

2) Pepsi: For the 2012 Super Bowl, Pepsi launched a social media campaign to support brand spokesperson Beyonce’s halftime show performance. The brand set up a mobile-optimized micro-site where fans could upload pictures of themselves in a specific pose each day for the chance to be featured during the show. In addition, 50 fans were chosen to win the grand prize which included a trip to the New Orleans to participate in the actual live show. The contest was promoted on all of Pepsi’s social media properties and in a promotional photo featuring Beyonce that was used on her social properties as well.

3) CoverGirl: Recognizing the importance of social media among their younger demographic, beauty brand CoverGirl has taken to social media in recent months to announce their latest spokespeople such as Pink and Janelle Monae. They also utilized their spokespeople for their recent Mother’s Day campaign, including Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, Queen Latifah, and talk show host  Ellen DeGeneres.

Of course, brand association with a celebrity or other public figure can have negative consequences as well. NBA team the LA Kings learned this the hard way when guest tweeter, radio personality Kevin Ryder, made a joke that many thought was in poor taste regarding sexual assault while live tweeting from the team's account during a recent playoff game. The team later apologized for the tweet. This incident illustrates why brands must choose their celebrity partners wisely to prevent negative sentiment stemming from brand association with that individual.

Do you think celebrity partnerships are valuable to a brand’s overall social media strategy? Tell us in the comments below!