Brand marketers know well the power of celebrity endorsements to build both trust and audience awareness.
What most marketers assume—that celebrities must be paid for their endorsement—is actually not true in today’s age of social media. Celebrities are people too, and they have brands that they personally love and will endorse on their own, for free. These aren’t celebrity influencers who only play when paid; they’re celebrity brand advocates—people that will go out of their way to support and recommend your brand.
Celebrity brand advocates know that their social endorsements mean a lot—particularly the Millennial and Gen Z luminaries. They’ve built their careers in the limelight and recognize that being active on social media at any time in the last decade has helped them expand their personal brand value. This value includes the products, brands, and properties they represent—be it sports teams, television shows, or consumer products—and their individual brands as well. When they increase their social stature through fan engagement, the resulting increased worth comes through greater recognition and relevancy in their field and from more lucrative marketing and commercial opportunities.
At the same time, the forces that drive celebrities’ fame and social followings are also the very ones that make it challenging for them to keep up with social media and continually make it a priority. Their commitments to their careers and crafts, unconventional schedules, and the constant land grab for their time and attention. Without an ongoing motivation to keep going with social media and an easy way to make it happen, brands may find that their top influencers are not enthusiastic about promotion. They may put as little effort into promotion as possible.
So what’s a brand to do? The secret lies in building an intrinsic, personal benefit for your celebrity brand advocates—one that is quite simple yet so powerful, enticing them to push past any obstacles and drive brand value. And giving them easy-to-use tools to access that benefit over and over again. You’re making them feel good about themselves when promoting your brand.
“At TBT, we’re like a new startup organization. Guys like Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby, and all the big-name guys we’ve had play in TBT, it’s invaluable for them to be posting our content for us in terms of our growth and how it helps us. It’s probably one of the big reasons we’ve been able to grow like we have.” — Joshua Brown, The Basketball Tournament (TBT) Content Coordinator
The benefit is the short-form media they want but can’t get or access without you: the videos and photos of their lives on the field, on the set, in the public eye, or in a candid moment. The memorable snapshots someone else is capturing but often don’t share with their subjects. Giving a celebrity media of their performance, their backstage antics, or a photoshoot is like gold. That media is what they need to continue to boost their personal brand on social media. They’re internally motivated to share it with their many social followers across platforms—and with their friends and family. It’s also often the catalyst that entices them to make their own authentic content for your brand as well.
The Importance of Intrinsic Motivation
Delivering content to a celebrity advocate is self-motivating—most of them look at it as a gift and an opportunity to help themselves. They see the content, build upon it, and share it to showcase their personalities and boost their image. Even gain bragging rights with their peers. And when an advocate recognizes the power of the photos, videos or graphics your organization delivers to them, they’re more likely to give your brand the authentic content they create in return. These could include their quiet moments at home, daily practice routines, musical tastes, or other slices of life outside the reach of your photographers and production crews. This action keeps the virtuous cycle going and garners them opportunities to be featured on your brand channels and raise their profile that way, too.
Teaming up with a well-known individual on social media can spotlight and humanize your brand by association. Your brand increases its reach, tapping a potential new audience of followers. Meanwhile, the celebrity feels supported and special—the recipient of a gift that helps them. And the advocate’s audience feels more connected to them and the brand—all at the same time. Everybody wins.
The importance of intrinsic motivation can’t be underscored enough—without a direct, personal benefit, celebrity advocates will generally not consistently help a brand. It’s only when there’s something in it for them that they will put out the right effort and endorse the brand on a long-term basis.
And it’s crucial to understand that their sustained support takes time to build. Most often, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Like any process change, some celebrity advocates will be early adopters in distributing and making content—pioneering a new way of doing things. Others may see a teammate or castmate reap the rewards from sharing and creating content regularly and try it out based on their experience or recommendation.
“A lot of the fans don’t necessarily get to see or interact with me in certain ways, so to be genuine and to be authentic, I want to give them an accurate representative [sic] of how I represent myself, and use that as an extension to show them.” — Pete Alonso, New York Mets, on using Greenfly
Still others will take a wait and see approach—they may test the waters to gain confidence in their own ability to share and create interesting content before things start to click. That is the natural order of things, and social media is no exception. As the medium grows, as with all media’s evolution, social promises to be more central to their daily lives. Keep up the messaging to advocates about sharing and capturing great content, and it will catch on.
The ideal way to do that is by giving your celebrity a streamlined mobile tool to help them manage their content and keep in close contact with your brand over the long haul—wherever they may be.
Advanced Tools to Make it Happen
Today, it’s possible to keep up with your celebrity brand advocates, provide them with valuable short-form media, and help them build deeper fan relationships. To help them increase their personal brand value, marketers must be right there on the mobile devices that celebrities use every day. The only way to make it easy to find and publish content is to make that experience seem like it’s part of their phone’s operating system—seamless. Centralizing a celebrity’s social activities in a mobile app that is always available helps make social media publishing a breeze. And, keeping all media activity in one place gives these on-the-go individuals the flexibility to capture photos and record and upload videos simply as well.
Greenfly’s mobile app is a one-stop-shop that enables brands and celebrities to easily and directly communicate, exchange content, and post it to social media in just a few clicks. For iPhone users, it’s like having another Photos app with unlimited camera rolls of personal content. For Android users, a familiar and similar experience in the Gallery with pre-created and continuously updated albums. In the Greenfly app, your celebrity advocates can find approved galleries of high-quality, professional photos and videos that you provide, ready for them to post.
They will also get notified of specific content requests from your brand’s marketing team, with a media brief providing specifics on the format and length desired and even a teleprompted script. Additionally, they can receive private messages and requests wherever they are in the world, in English and in other languages (including French, Spanish and Portuguese) to remove communication barriers. They also have access to their social activity metrics to keep track of what they’ve posted.
And celebrity advocates can do all this without the need for your team to add more staff or deal with managing convoluted text message chains or uploading and downloading assets through emails or cloud services. Many organizations don’t even try sending content through traditional methods now because they know it’s an uphill battle to involve their celebrity advocates and boost brand value this way. Greenfly streamlines the entire process, allowing social and marketing teams and their celebrity advocates to focus on other critical tasks.
“Shout-out to Greenfly, that allows us to share all our great content with one stroke.” — Thomas Dziagwa, Stillwater Stars, The Basketball Tournament (TBT)
Content Collaboration Tips for Your Celebrity Brand Advocates
At Greenfly, we’ve been working with leading brands and personalities for years to expand their social media content. Here are some of our top tips for social media teams working with celebrity brand advocates to ensure a steady stream of shared and created content over the entire course of those relationships.
• Explain the communication process upfront—how the advocates can expect to receive content and requests for content, so they get used to the rhythm of that right at the start. Then, it will more easily become part of their regular routine.
• Have approved content ready to go for them when you explain this process and at all times going forward. This stockpile provides immediate value when they don’t have to hunt for or take time to request assets, and it also encourages rapid sharing.
• Create groups to organize which advocates can get similar or themed content—such as around a specific sporting event or show launch.
• Send a personalized, one-to-one welcome message to your high-profile advocates. Make them feel special. They are likely used to a VIP experience, so give them one.
• Reach out to any talent or PR representatives the advocate may have managing their communications to explain your process and address any questions upfront.
• Try sharing your content with a few top advocates first. Select those early tech adopters and active social media users to test content and determine what most resonates for your brand.
• Encourage those top active users to then tell their peers about the success they’ve had with creating and sharing content. Peer-to-peer recommendations lend credibility to the experience.
• Give the advocates ideas and examples for building their image through your content featuring them. Offer them suggested social copy points to make their posts even more interesting. Build trust that you are supporting their interests as they bolster your brand.
• Schedule requests in advance to send to your advocates at the same time or on the same day consistently, so they get used to the cadence. This consistency helps train them on when they can expect new content and allows you to be proactive and timely with content for a faster response.
• Maintain a consistent cadence of fresh content, so your advocates never have to worry that photos and videos feel dated or they won’t have something new to share.
Two Celebrity Brand Advocate Success Stories
BET engaged Greenfly to enable social collaboration with their large roster of talent, who share social content—including trailers, behind-the-scenes moments and tune-in promos—with their followers. The social team uses Greenfly to organize, curate and share original content with talent for social posting; this media is accompanied by suggested copy, tune-in dates, and hashtags. They also request original content from talent when they’re on set.
Greenfly enables BET to efficiently gather content in one place, so the team can quickly upload it to their network social channels. The platform facilitates seamless, real-time social content distribution across shows and talent. And it gives the BET team visibility into who shared what assets, at what time, to what social platform, and how well that content performed. Talent from 25 BET shows are now using Greenfly, including 100% of the Boomerang cast.
The Basketball Tournament (TBT) uses Greenfly to produce digital videos and graphics for its brand channels and sponsorship partners. In 2020, TBT onboarded 92% of its basketball players onto Greenfly. These athletes participated in the production and sharing of the brand and sponsor content and their own content showcasing their lives during TBT’s tournament ‘bubble.’ Over the course of the 10-day tournament this year, the organization shared over 3,000 photos and videos through authentic player channels and gained 93,000 additional social media engagements. The players noted how easy it was to access and share photos and videos immediately without searching for them.
“You’re always going to have kind of the tough cookie athlete. There’s always going to be the athletes who don’t care about social media or don’t recognize the power of it. But if you even generally care and understand social media and what it can do for you, what it can do for your brand, you’re going to get all the best content on Greenfly. Because the teams are going to give you professional photography and high-quality, professionally cut video. Greenfly is the way that you get the highest-quality content delivered to your phone. There’s no other way. We’re not texting players each individually their pictures; if you want professional-level photos, you’re going to get them through Greenfly.” — Joshua Brown, The Basketball Tournament (TBT) Content Coordinator
Content collaboration with celebrity brand advocates is easier than you think. With some attention to their core motivations and the right tools and processes in place, your brand is already well on the path to social media success.
For more on this topic, download our complete guide to working with brand advocates or send us a note.