Better Than A Direct Response Ad
I've been working with brands and partnering them with celebrities for twenty years, and in the last two years our team has seen a major rise in the number of brands who want smaller ‘endorsement’ partnerships with celebrities that are strictly social media driven.
We’ve had a lot of people (and reporters) ask how celebrity social media posts actually happen, (followed by the obvious need to know - how much does it cost!) In this blog, Hollywood Branded provides a look at 7 steps to the overall process of deciding which social celebrity influencer you want to post for your brand.
When a brand contacts us regarding working with a celebrity, we always ask if they have someone specific in mind. They usually do – but that does not mean they are set on that person only. Or should be. Sometimes they are, and our relationships allow us to quickly make introductions and begin negotiating a contract. However, we actually counsel against brands making firm decisions before exploring more options.
#2 Rexamine Who
As a brand, if you are 100% set on one specific person, and not open to anyone else, you no longer are in control of the conversation. You can’t walk away easily from negotiations, and you end up paying more money often because you can’t truly play the game of negotiating. There may be other celebrities also that would be a better fit, are easier to work with, or who are just more eager to work with your brand – or even an established fan of the brand already.
#3, #4 And #More... So Many Questions
When we start working with a brand, we ask a lot of questions, ranging from who they think they would like, to what budget that person needs to fit within, to how large a social fan base the celebrity should have – as well as, of course demographic specific questions. We also try to determine exactly what the brand wants from the celebrity.
A social media campaign with a celebrity can be a major driver of sales for a brand, and results in fast ROI, so having the right partner is important!
Often brands have the idea that just paying to partner with a celebrity will make magic happen – but the reality is, before a celebrity can even be approached, we need to know very specifically what the campaign plan is.
Some of the questions we need to know for ANY celebrity partnership include (as relevant to the goal):
- The number of days expected if they need to shoot a TV spot or print ad.
- The number of tweets, Facebook or Instagram posts if they are posting social media.
- If they are expected to create their own content (photos, videos).
- How much fan interaction is required.
- The number of events they will need to attend.
- And if when attending the event they are expected to stand for photos with the brand’s CEO – as well as media.
There is nothing that is too trivial to leave out in planning for how the celebrity will be incorporated into a campaign. Even if that celebrity is just being hired to do a single social media post!
#5 The Offer
From the brand manager’s response, we are then able to construct a list of celebrities who fit within their possible interest. Once the brand looks at this list and why it is ranked as it is (including possible rates), we have the brand narrow down their choices, so that we can create an offer letter (also known as a Letter of Intent) that specifically states everything the celebrity would need to do. The talent agent, manager or publicist then shares this with the celebrity and we negotiate to the final terms.
Do You Want A Celebrity...Or A Celebrity Social Influencer?
One thing to add – a ‘celebrity influencer’ is not always a ‘celebrity’. Brands often come to us and say they want a “celebrity” to do social posts. But when we really start digging, what they are actually looking for is a “celebrity” social influencer that has tremendous social reach, and someone who will generate their own content and then happily and actively get it out there.
And for a lot less money.
Today, most actor or music celebrities don’t actually have tremendous social media reach compared to social influencers. And the A-list celebs that have major major fan bases? They aren’t very authentic when they post about a brand, as they are often not very active on their own social media, so it seems forced. So we often go down the path of educating and exploring if a social influencer might be a better fit.
Check out my podcast where I discuss the difference between a celebrity and a celebrity social influencer: Do You Want To Hire A Celebrity Or A Celebrity Influencer Infographic
Why Do A-List Celebs Cost So Darn Much? It's A Single Social Post $&#* It!
Another important note is that a brand may think “oh, I just want one or two social posts from that A-list celebrity, that’s not asking so much” but it is when you realize the celebrity is looking at those posts as the same value of doing a TV or print campaign – because if they post for a hair care brand and do a couple of social posts, the competitor hair care brand is no longer going to likely offer them a big celebrity endorsement deal. Or maybe they will… but why chance it? So that A-list celebrity is super expensive.
#6 Giving Guidance On The Post
Even before the contract is negotiated and signed, we will outline the very specific hashtags and the brand’s social handle that needs to be included in any posts. Suggested messaging is also provided to the celebrity influencer. If it is a ‘real’ celebrity, then they often post almost word for word – sometimes without a lot of creativity, although some celebrities are great with being creative. And sometimes celebs slip up - like Scott Disick of Kardashian fame did. Check out the blog we wrote on how he royally messed up: How One Brand One Big On A Celebrity Influencer Endorsement Mistake - but the brand still got lucky.
In fact, the brand gave explicit instructions on the post. The problem was, he posted the instructions along WITH the post. He took word for word a little too far. Major fail.
If it is a social influencer, they usually will put their own spin on the language used. There can be an entire photo shoot for a picture of a brand with a celebrity – but usually it is more natural, as that is what social posting is – a casual and (hopefully) authentic way to create a statement without it sounding forced.
The contract will likely state that the product needs to be recognizable – although we have seen some Viners where the product is barely recognizable in their videos, but hashtagged.
Here is a fun campaign we did with Jason Derulo and PassionRoses, where we defined the specifics of what needed to be included, and had this (phenomenal) result.
#7 Negotitating The Life Of the Post
The post lives forever, right? Wrong...
The contract will absolutely state length of term for the post to remain up. Today, many social influencers pull their branded posts down after a month or two, as they are looking at the deals as super short, and not long endorsement contracts, and they don’t want to limit other brands in the same category from hiring them. A-list celebrities may leave the post up longer, but usually because it is part of a bigger campaign.
When we've surveyed millennials - we've found it is NOT worth fighting for (or paying for) a long-staying post. The celebrity is posting on a likely daily basis, and after a month or two, your paid-for-post is so buried that few if anyone will be scrolling down past 20 lines to see the post.
So What Celebs Do Social?
Our agency works with new celebrities and productions every week as brand needs are extremely diverse and often seeking niche specific hobbies and likes from celebrities. There are hundreds and hundreds of celebrities out there, and so many brands who want to partner with them, but the overlap is not as high as you may think. Brand managers are pretty specific about creating niche partnerships with social posting.
We have favorites where it comes to the talent agents and managers where we often work with more than specific celebrities. Some management firms, like all businesses, have more integrity than others. But overall, we have access to everyone through relationships established over the last two decades, whether for social posts, comprehensive endorsement campaigns or on screen brand partnerships. This enables us to match make a brand to the perfect celebrity for their needs.
So How Much Does It Cost For A Post?
This is the questions EVERYONE wants to know. And it truly varies. A single post with someone may be $5,000 or it may be a $1 million + just based on who the celebrity is, and what the post may keep them from doing with another brand in the same or similar category.
There is no magic number or rate card. At least not yet. And having a budget $ in mind will save you and your agency endless hours, so you can quickly focus on who truly is an option. Know your cap. Incentivize your agency monetarily if they can get the dollars lower range. Come up with a game plan so you are not simply an open wallet. But be realistic too. Brands ARE paying for these posts. There is a high perceived value.
Most social campaigns fall in the $10k to $150k range for a celebrity social influencer who does not have MILLIONS and MILLIONS (we are talking Kardashians here) of fans. If they do have those numbers, then expect $250k+ per post. For celebrities - those A-lister types - the fees are often in the low to mid 6 figure range - and they typically won't consider just one post and want more of a 'campaign.'
And it all depends on what the celebrity has to do. The more the ask, the higher the fee.
Check out this pricing guide for product placement, because quite frankly... sometimes you can get a lot more exposure for a lot less cost than working with a celebrity from TV or film: How Much Does Product Placement Cost
So Now What?
Are you interested in learning more on how your brand can work with social media influencers? Download our infographic that provides case studies, rates and strategies for success when creating a social media influencer program.