If you have spent a considerable amount of time on Twitter, you must be aware of how brands leverage celebs and their reach to forge ahead with their own marketing. It’s an open fact that Celebrity Tweets are for sale.

Wait! I should rephrase it: Followers are for sale. If you don’t have followers on Twitter, you’re not a celeb. But that’s not what irks me, to be honest.

Tapping into the reach of a celeb is something that brands have been doing since the dawn of man. But it’s the way brands are working with celebs on the digital front, that irks me the most. While digital media is a totally different ball game, brands are still working with celebs on social media with a traditional marketing mindset.

This way of thinking has resulted in a hash of a influencer marketing strategy, and this is a trend that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.

Exorbitant Rates

As per details available publicly on UTV Sponsored Tweets, Poonam Pandey charges $1500 per tweet, while Shashi Tharoor charges more than $2500. The prices seem outdated on their platform because the follower count has not been updated yet. But it will only be higher.

Now please be honest and tell me, would you be willing to spend Rs 80,000 just so that your tweet can reach out to 4,00,000 or so people? Mind you, I am yet to touch upon the fact that most of them won’t be online when the tweet goes out and a good chunk could be inactive followers. I would much rather spend this money on Twitter Advertising and display my tweets to relevant people.

This excess clearly smacks of the traditional marketing mindset. A tweet is not the same as a 15 second ad slot. Such rates are nothing but detrimental to the industry. Social media is not a channel to get impressions, and is completely different from television or print. Try to engage with the your followers on social media, and derive real business results out of your social media efforts.

There Are Better Ways to Leverage Celebrities

I know you really want to tap into the reach of celebs and promote yourself. But paying them money to tweet about your latest TVC featuring them is not the right way. If you are serious about leveraging their reach, then you should create digital content revolving around them.

How about coming up with a series of webisodes that will be featured on YouTube?

How about creating a game featuring them as protagonists and integrating it with your brand?

You can do so much more to attract the attention of their fans and engage them with your brand communication. All you need is to put your thinking cap on and ideate strategies that go beyond mere sweet talking on Twitter. Create content that is interesting. Mere promotional tweets are not going to help you at all.

People will forget the tweet within 5 mins, and maybe not even see it. But an engaging experience will linger on for a long duration.

Disclaimer.. Where Is It??

If you are promoting something, it makes sense that you let your users know about it. But I haven’t yet come across any celeb who puts a disclaimer in his/her Tweets. This is a pretty disturbing trend that should be addressed by advertising bodies in India. A paid promotion without a disclaimer is akin to cheating your community members. It’s not a wise thing to keep them in the dark; they follow you because they are your fans.

All they need to do is put #ad in their tweet and this will let their fans know that it is a sponsored tweet.

To be honest, the present set-up of working with celebs (and the influencers as well) on social media is disappointing. No brand is willing to take a stand and really challenge the exorbitant rates being charged by celebs. Neither any of them are putting real efforts into leveraging celebrities in an engaging way.

I wish I could write it off saying the “industry is learning from its mistakes” but I don’t think the industry is in its formative stages anymore. It has wizened up a good deal and I expect brands to have a different approach for digital.

What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments below.

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A digital marketing guy since 2008, I have helped several startups, SMBs and brands. Mad about analytics, data, social media and idli-sambhar. An engineer who fell in love with digital at the first sight. Follow my thoughts on Twitter at: @RakeshTheKumar
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