If you’re anything like me, you spend way too much time scrolling through Instagram. One of my favorite new accounts to follow is Comments by Celebs. One tactic that I swear all the celebrity publicists are recommending their clients do (or let’s be honest, they’re doing it for them), is to comment on other celebrity Instagram pages. Oftentimes, one of the top comments on a celeb post is by another celeb. My thinking is this is truly a tactic to gain more followers and engagement. And it’s smart. Look at Ellen, for example. One of the best ‘gram pages there is, with funny memes, adorable kids and top celeb moments. Oh and just a small 53 million followers. She’s always got celebrities commenting and re-posting her images. And sometimes you’re like “are these people even friends?” or are their publicists working behind the scenes? (Also, is there a cost? So many questions.) You can get lost in the comments and sometimes it is not. pretty.
Anyways, one day when I was mindlessly scrolling, Busy Philipps popped into my feed. Her Instagram stories are the best. So entertaining and she is super authentic. Truthfully, I just became a fan of hers in the last year after watching Freaks and Geeks for the first time. (By the way, if you haven’t watched that show, stream it on Netflix right now!) I have to get her book when it comes out. So back to my point, Busy was on the press junket back in April in NYC promoting the movie I Feel Pretty (anyone watch that? Is it worth seeing?) and she was making her rounds on the Good Morning Americas and Kelly and Ryans of the day, when she made a quick change and posted on Instagram if anyone had any makeup removers they loved because she has sensitive eyes. I of course commented because I want to be Busy’s bestie (Almay for life), but then I noticed HOW QUICKLY other celebs like Selma Blair were commenting with their tips. No joke, four minutes later Jessica Alba (or whoever works for her, since I doubt Jessica was refreshing Instagram at 2:30 in the afternoon) commented about the Honest Company. Really smart. I thought this mini case study was over and moved on with my day.
But of course, later that afternoon I “hopped on” (as every single blogger says) Instagram stories to see Busy had a new story update. I clicked, and lo and behold, not one but TWO brands had makeup remover sent via a messenger over to her hotel room. And Honest Company was one of them. So not only was their team looking on social media for an opportunity to strike, but they also moved quickly and took advantage of said-opportunity. Did it increase awareness for Honest makeup remover? Probably. You can’t track this, but with Busy’s one million followers, I am sure someone was inclined to check out their products, especially for others with sensitive eyes. Plus, her original post had 25K likes and more than 4,600 comments. People are passionate about their makeup remover! (I personally also love Neutragena for their wipes. Maybe I should tell my 900 Instagram followers?)
As PR professionals (or marketers), we don’t all have celebrity access at our disposal. Or are local to NYC or LA. Nor is it even necessarily right for the companies we work for. But there are definitely takeaways from all of this.
- Keeping a pulse on your newsfeed
- PR pros should be constantly connected. And while we should take breaks, we should also have alerts sent to us so we don’t miss a beat. Scrolling the news and social topics relevant to our brands can allow us to spot opportunities like media inquires or a chance to incorporate newsjacking, which is injecting your ideas into a breaking news story.
- A little goes a long way
- Sending someone makeup remover wipes isn’t going to increase sales or revolutionize your brand, but small gestures really go a long way and eventually, it adds up. Brands get dinged more and more in today’s digital age, so when you can surprise and delight someone, it really makes them think your brand cares. Not to mention, many brands use copy/paste customer service responses on social, and that one-on-one interaction social media once was is now all automated and inauthentic. Being a person can make you stand out. It doesn’t even need to be a huge influencer with millions of followers; it can be your regular, everyday customer (which is probably more impactful than a celeb anyway).
- Don’t be disingenuous
- Just because you send free stuff to people doesn’t mean you’re going to seen as this amazing brand. Nor does it always make sense to newsjack. Especially when it comes to a trending hashtag and brands don’t read the background and really mess up. Yes, you should move quickly when an opportunity presents itself, but always think it through first and ask yourself if it truly makes sense and will have an impact.
- Do your research
- Taking time to scroll is a great way to not only spot opportunities, but also do some research and change your thinking. For example, recently I was pitching a story that was going nowhere for a client. While I want to say this had a happy ending and received some coverage (spoiler alert: it didn’t…yet), I did spend time scrolling different outlets which allowed me to create a new angle, so hopefully something will come of it. I was spending time in the same few outlets, so when I readjusted my reach and expanded my newsfeed, newness saw its way in.
Bottom line: FOMO is real in marketing communications. I am not saying to spend 23 hours a day on social media (YIKES), but be alert, and have your team alert too so you’re all seeking out quick wins. So get Busy and get social.