Ok, they may now have a huge team of ‘experts’ and support staff behind them these days, but this lot have leveraged social media to create hugely successful businesses from virtually nothing. Here’s how they did it, and how existing businesses can look to do the same;
As much as most of us my say “so what?”, Kim Kardashian could well be the greatest social marketer of her generation. Not only does she regularly become one of the top trending topics on Twitter, but she also leverages this reach in order to sell her shit.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 9, 2016
Take her rather NSFW nude snap from earlier this year. It wasn’t just the fact she posted a somewhat controversial photo, it was also the timeliness of it as it just so happened to coincide with International Women’s Day. By posting an attention grabbing (and potentially controversial post) in a timely and relevant manner she created a huge online buzz around her personal brand.
Not content with becoming a trending topic, she then pulled her masterstroke by following up with a tweet to an open letter whilst the conversation around her was hottest, the kicker – it sat behind a paywall meaning anyone who wanted to get her side of the story had to pay to do so.
She then followed up on the initial hype by making great use of influencers in the follow up by posting a snap of her and Emily Ratajkowski (once again minus clothes) to keep her front and centre of the social media discussion.
Key Takeaway – Create a buzz in a timely and relevant manner before trying to sell to people (and don’t be afraid to follow up on successful content).
Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach
A couple of years ago nobody had even heard the name Joe Wicks, now he’s bloody everywhere. The Body Coach as he is often known leveraged the power of social media to create a personal brand around his #LeanIn15 mantra which has now turned him into one of the biggest names in health and fitness.
The key to Joe’s success has been his continued production of genuinely useful and engaging content. In fifteen second videos, he is able to provide entire healthy recipes to followers. It wasn’t just the fact he was providing great content that made him so popular however, he also ensured that each post was full of personality that helps him come across in a really accessible way.
Initially he leveraged this success to sell his online coaching product which is essentially an extension of his social media posts, and has now extended this to two best selling recipe books, and a hugely popular TV show on Channel 4. He has also made great use of customer success stories to help provide social proof of his products.
Despite his huge success, Wicks continues to produce great content in order to keep the interest of his current fans and attract new ones. Not only this, but he has also shown a willingness to jump head first into new features such as Facebook’s live video option.
Key Takeaway – Don’t be afraid to ‘give away’ great content, and when you do find success, ensure you remain consistent in your approach.
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock
Over the last few years Dwayne Johnson has become the go to guy to save ailing film franchises and ensure summer blockbuster success. Somehow he has gone from appearing in films like Tooth Fairy to becoming reportedly the top earning actor in Hollywood this year, much of which can be attributed to his incredible social media success.
Given he only joined Twitter in 2011, the fact Dwayne now has 10.5 million followers on the platform. Even more astounding is his 66.5m followers on Instagram and nearly 57m on Facebook, but just how did he achieve this? The simple answer is by getting his hands dirty.
Rather than posting perfectly produced content on a regular basis, The Rock uses his endearing personality, and insights into his daily life to truly engage with fans. Whether it be behind the scenes content from his latest film, or quick videos he takes with fans, he demonstrates a willingness to let fans ‘peak behind the curtain’.
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Its Labor Day. One of my favorite holidays as we celebrate the blue collar American worker and their contributions to our country thru labor and sweat. In the spirit of Labor Day, I had an amazing philosophical conversation w/ my baby girl about the value of hard work and how respect is given when it's earned. I told her, "Baby girl when you grow up, you get out there and dent the universe thru hard work and sweat. And always make sure you do it in a positive way with class, dignity and respect". She responded by poo'ing on me in this moment as she plays her favorite game, "Drum time on daddy's big head". It was a good talk.💯 #HappyLaborDay #TheJohnsons #GoodTalksWithDaddy
This is quite simply the biggest reason for his almost unparalleled success. How many other celebs will record a video of them sweating it out in the gym, or be willing to discuss getting pooped on by his daughter? It is this willingness to show that he is human that allows fans to connect with him on a personal level and lap up his content.
Key Takeaway – Being human is key – this means being willing to show the good with the bad.
Zoe Sugg aka Zoella
Zoe Sugg created her YouTube channel Zoella in 2009 and has since gone on to become one of the most popular personalities on the channel with more than 11 million subscribers. The 26 year old’s popularity saw her sign a book deal with her first with her debut novel Girl Online go on to be a best seller.
Zoella is the perfect example of having a plan and sticking with it for the long haul. At the end of 2009 her channel had just over 1,000 subscribers, however she remained consistent over the following years to help her build up a hugely loyal and engaged fan base who hang off her every word.
One of the keys to developing this loyalty has been the authenticity of her videos. In them she discusses things that are personal to her, and yet will resonate with her core audience who for the most part are very similar to her. The huge success of Zoella has also spawned a whole network of other vloggers keen to achieve similar levels of success.
Zoella has also shown a willingness to collaborate with other vloggers including her brother Joe and boyfriend Alfie, both of whom have their own channels. This kind of crossover not only helps provide more insight into her life off camera, but also helps her reach a broader audience across the platform.
Key Takeaway – Remain consistent in your approach, and ensure that your content is authentic to actively engage with your audience.
Although all four examples here are very different, each with their own goals and methods of monetisation, it is easy to see how businesses can take learnings from each of them and apply it to their social marketing efforts. And if it’s not obvious by now, the one thing they all have in common is that their content is personal.