Although most lists of "things we can learn from celebrities" include more don't's than do's, there is definitely one thing they can teach us: the art of social media.
Celebrities, much like big businesses, have huge name recognition and fan loyalty. Also like the corporate world, they have new projects, products and ventures they're promoting via the social web.
Below are a few lessons businesses can learn from social media-savvy celebs. (For more tips, visit my website BeASocialClimber.com.)
Beautiful, artistic photos rule the day.
Lauren Conrad's Instagram is full of carefully choregraphed photos that are whimsical and romantic and fit her personal brand very well. The composition of her pictures is precise and delicate. They invite her 2 million-plus fans to "heart" them and comment.
Lesson: Whether it's Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, powerful, inspiring photos are worth more than a thousand shares. Like Conrad, have a strong visual brand message that users can immediately identify with your company.
Hashtags: use characters wisely.
Jimmy Fallon incites mass fan involvement with his #latenighthashtags. Fans are encouraged to use the funny show-created Twitter hashtags like #AwkwardDate and #MisheardLyrics to join in the fun. The best tweets are featured on the show, which boosts activity and interest in the segment.
Lesson: To become trending on Twitter, businesses have to create a movement followers will want to be a part of. Simply using a company or product name as a hashtag isn't interesting enough for fans to want to use or share it. Fallon has the right idea: create a phrase or saying that fans can add their own spin to.
It's ok to pull back the curtain.
Celebrities are in the limelight 24/7, being scrutinized and analyzed, so maintaining some privacy is key. But, every once and awhile, a singer or actor pulls back the curtain and shares a sound byte from the recording studio or a snapshot from a movie set.
Taylor Swift does this really well on Facebook. She makes her own cat memes and shows fans a glimpse of her quiet life at home. And they go bananas for it.
Lesson: While celebrities naturally have an aura of mystique and intrigue, so do businesses in the public eye. Show fans what office games you play (Flonkerton, anyone?) or what volunteer projects you're involved in. You don't have to bare your corporate soul to the world - just show that that real people with real lives work at your company.
Don't build a fanbase, create a community.
While he is certainly a celebrity in the young adult fiction world, John Green may be a new name to some of you. He's a New York Times bestseller author and Printz award winner. Green is also a highly successful vlogger, and he and his brother Hank share over a million subscribers on their Vlog Brothers YouTube channel.
Their secret? They've built a community of "nerdfighters" who share reading, random musings and all things nerdy in common. John and Hank have their own professional projects, but their community isn't centered on them - it's centered on ideas, thoughts and questions their fans are interested in.
Lesson: The power of a community with shared interests is huge. Become the facilitator of that community, not the star. By fostering interest in topics relevant to your business, you become a leader in the field and a business that promotes conversation.
What other celebrities do social media well?