In today's online world, many celebrities are using new approaches and tools to monetize their huge fan bases in ways that haven't been possible before. This article will explore some of the ways in which celebrities are leveraging their online presence to generate even more income.Sponsored Social Media
With social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube reaching the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people on a daily basis, a unique opportunity presents itself to celebrities with a large online following. A star like Selena Gomez, with 45 million Twitter followers, can expect a large percentage of those followers to see anything she tweets about. This can be worth a lot of money for a company seeking to advertise to the demographic that Selena Gomez fans are largely composed of.
Celebrity sponsored postings on social media can be overt, in the form of posted mini-commercials or photos for Coke, or less direct, in the form of a star posting a glowing review of a product they just 'bought'. With every post made having a dollar value attached to it, any follower has to wonder about the financial consideration that might have been received behind the scenes. Some celebrities like Jared Leto and Khloe Kardashian have been noted as charging more than $13,000 per tweet, per IZEA, an online advertising company.
Some celebrities have found themselves in hot water over their social media accounts due to neglecting to post enough about certain products, or mistakenly endorsing a competitor. Once celebrities choose to monetize their social media platforms, they need to keep in mind that these accounts are essentially a business now and need to be run as such. This has led to a lawsuit for the Kardashians, one of the most active social media families, for not endorsing a product line named after them that they had agreed to post about online. This underlines the seriousness of this new form of business and the value that companies put on the sponsored tweets that a celebrity can be posting.
Celebrity Backed Apps As smart phones have come to dominate the cellular phone market, the app business has exploded, with most people easily having 50-100 apps on their phones. With app success largely depending on how many people hear about an app and developing a critical mass of users the use of a celebrity endorsement can drastically improve the chance of success. This leads some app developers to partner with celebrities and even offer them a percentage of the profit in exchange for their marketing activities.
Some celebrity endorsements have managed to generate huge returns for apps, from Kim Kardashian promoting a separately developed Kim Kardashian: Hollywood to Taylor Swift's greeting card app. With their huge fan base reach driving at least some degree of the apps success. Other celebrities have seen flops, from Ashton Kutcher supporting a Twitter client that's disappeared from the market to Snooki's Bling Bling game that also faded away.
Other forms of star power aside Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift are both celebrities that have invested a lot in building up their online followings, one key reason for their success where others have failed. This would seem to show that not just any celebrity endorsement can guarantee the success of a product, but rather the sheer size of their online fan base is just as important. Snooki's 6m Twitter followers just couldn't generate the same result and Kim's 47m or Taylor's 80m.
The Age of Self-Branding
Beyond endorsements of products, more and more celebrities are focusing on the development of their online self-brand. From Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop to Ashley Tisdale's Haute Mess, celebrities are embracing the development of their self-brand and creating a broad digital prescience. This has led to a new industry for digital management agencies that can provide comprehensive services to celebrities in managing their brand.
While this form of self-branding is still relatively new, it does provide stars with unique opportunities to comprehensively manage their online brand on their own terms and outside the constraints of Instagram or Twitter. Every celebrity can effectively choose how they want to brand themselves and how they want to monetize their brand on their own terms.
One thing is certain, that as the world moves more towards an online environment, celebrities will find new ways to capitalize on that to improve their brand or monetize their fan base. The methods being used now will likely grow and expand as new avenues become available.