Is Your Favorite Celeb Giving You a Headache on Twitter?

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It’s hard to remember a time when there were no celebrities on Twitter.  We used to get all of our juicy gossip from the entertainment rags (or Perez, of course), but now we can hear almost any actor, musician, or athletes innermost thoughts and their impulsive commentary just by following them.  While this new system is great for the fans, the problem is that celebrity publicists no longer have any control over what their clients are saying through their feeds.  With the media being able to access anything they write, celebrities are having to become their own representation; their personal brand can be affected positively or negatively by each Tweet they send out.

Some celebrities are great at using their Twitter accounts to develop their personal brand, while others have used it to drive their public image into the ground.  Most recently, Drew Carey used the service to raise money for LiveStrong in the name of fellow Tweeter Drew Olanoff by attempting to recruit 1 million followers.  At the other end of the spectrum, one of the most infamous Twitter-wrecks is Lindsay Lohan, who has no problem publicly airing her way-too-dramatic love life all over the internet.

Let’s face it, we’re all hooked on celebrity tweeters.  I mean, did anyone else cry a little when Miley Cyrus decided she wanted to delete her account? Just me? Ok then.  This is the first time we’ve been given the opportunity to be “friends” with such famous people. Unfortunately, following some of them isn’t always the most pleasant experience, and you don’t always get what you expect.  If I ever decided to move to LA and become a true “publicist”, this is the advice I would give to Lady Gaga — erm, I mean my client, on positively building your personal brand on Twitter.  I also think that these tips don’t just apply to celebs, but can also help anyone with a large following.  Use them for your own purposes.

1. Think Like Your Publicist: Before sending out any Tweet, take a second to stop and think “WWMPD?” (What Would My Publicist Do?).  Is what you’re about to say something that you would feel comfortable saying on TV, on the radio, or in an interview?  If it’s not, it’s probably better to refrain from tweeting and put the thought in a private e-mail or IM to friends or family.  Not only does Twitter have a huge audience, but any tweet deleted from the site is never truly gone.  You should never tweet something that you might regret saying in the future.  One negatively perceived tweet can permanently affect your image.  It also doesn’t hurt to think “WWMFT?” (What Would My Fans Think?). Remember, you want to GAIN fans, not lose them.

(BAD Example: Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler.  I love you Trav, but no one wants to see you fight with your ex-wife in public.)

2. Be Consistent: Before you start tweeting, decide who will be managing and updating your account.  If someone other than yourself will be handling it (such as your manager), try to make sure that there is one person in charge so that there is a uniform voice. The account is supposed to represent you, and whether or not you’re updating it yourself, you don’t want people to think you have multiple personalities.

(GOOD Example: Mark Hoppus.  Sorry for the second Blink-182 reference, but I think he does a really awesome job with his account.)

3. Reach Out: The amount of followers you have will probably be the same size as the circulation of a major magazine, so personally responding to every fan who @ replies you will most likely be an impossible task.  However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reach out to them occasionally.  Set aside 30 minutes every once in a while to do shout-outs and interact with your followers.

(GOOD Example: Rainn Wilson. Rainn is ALWAYS interacting with people that reply to him, even RTing them on occasion.)

4. Build a Community: Think of your Twitter account as one, gigantic fan club that you have direct access to. Offering exclusive content is always a good idea to make your Twitter fans feel special.  Never-before-seen photos, or advance screenings of videos will help you to create a community around you and your account and will make fans want to keep visiting your profile.

(GOOD Example: Amy Winehouse.  I truly hate to say that Amy is a good example for ANYTHING, but she shares some great, exclusive stuff.)

5. Dont Be Afraid to Get Personal: One of the reasons why people are soexcited about celebrities having Twitter accounts is that it provides a window into the personal life of someone that they admire but have only ever interacted with through mediated channels.  While it’s important to never over share (and once again, think WWMPD?), there’s nothing wrong with giving them that glimpse.

(GOOD EXAMPLE: Taylor Swift.  I’m sorry, but how can you NOT think that everything this girl does is perfection?  You know you said “aww” when she tweeted about her Saturday Night Live nerves.)

Do you guys have any other examples of celebrities who are using Twitter right?  Using it wrong?  How can we take these tips and apply them to our own Twitter personal branding strategy?

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  • jeffespo

    Interesting post Jess. While the post is directly related to celebrities (who I don't follow outside of Chad Ochocinco), your advice can also be applied to businesses using the medium. Brands and employees of said brand Tweeting with association to the company would benefit from your advice.

  • Jess, I really like your point about reaching out. I recently stopped following several celebs on Twitter because they didn't engage with their audience and weren't offering me any value.

  • Jeff-

    Exactly. I hoped that people would take that exact thing away from this post. I thought it would be fun to use celebrities as an example 🙂 Especially considering how huge of a phenomenon its become.

  • Danielle-

    I hear ya. I've actually seem celebrities get pissed and tweet about how irritating it is when fans expect them to respond to them (i think it was kelly osbourne?). Obviously they can't reply to every single tweet, but I think its great when celebs take 30 minutes to do shout outs every week or so.

  • I just want Miley to come back…

  • jeffespo

    Interesting post Jess. While the post is directly related to celebrities (who I don't follow outside of Chad Ochocinco), your advice can also be applied to businesses using the medium. Brands and employees of said brand Tweeting with association to the company would benefit from your advice.

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  • Jess, I really like your point about reaching out. I recently stopped following several celebs on Twitter because they didn't engage with their audience and weren't offering me any value.

  • Jeff-

    Exactly. I hoped that people would take that exact thing away from this post. I thought it would be fun to use celebrities as an example 🙂 Especially considering how huge of a phenomenon its become.

  • Danielle-

    I hear ya. I've actually seem celebrities get pissed and tweet about how irritating it is when fans expect them to respond to them (i think it was kelly osbourne?). Obviously they can't reply to every single tweet, but I think its great when celebs take 30 minutes to do shout outs every week or so.

  • I just want Miley to come back…