I was fascinated to read about the effect on a Coventry-based Tweeter Steven Holmes (@ste-101) who was selected at random to be the only person rap star Kanye West (@KanyeWest) decided to follow. It has caused Steven’s follower numbers to shoot up from 50 to 3961 (at 3rd August) but judging by his last tweet, the pressure is starting to tell: “Just to clarify, I mean I won’t be speaking to any more press/journalists”5:51 PM Aug 2nd via web. He has a way to go to match Kanye’s follower numbers – 6 days in and 178 tweets later, he has 413,348 followers.
It’s not the first time a celebrity has done this. Back in March 2010, US talk show host Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) decided to follow a Michigan-based 19 year old student Sarah Killen (who goes by the Twitter name of @LovelyButton) turning her 3 followers into a total of 29,573 today.
It says a lot about the celebrity-obsessed culture we have developed in western society. What interested me in these two cases is that neither Conan O’Brien nor Kanye West have made any reference to why – or how – they chose their sole person to follow. It appears to be a ‘good will’ gesture but I am sure that it is no coincidence that Kanye West has a new album coming out in six weeks’ time.
For me, this is a very clever promotional campaign for the celebrity. By giving an unknown person their “15 minutes of fame” (to quote Andy Warhol), Kanye West has grabbed the media’s attention and gained access to a completely new audience by way of Twitter – spreading the message across the world in six days – AT NO FINANCIAL COST!
So is this a new style of promotional and publicity campaigning? And what can small businesses learn from this? How could you piggyback a famous brand to achieve a much wider coverage? It’s certainly time to start thinking out of the box! If you want to brainstorm ideas or discuss how to raise your company’s profile, contact me via Twitter (@DangerousMkting) or via our company website.
And a light-hearted question to finish! If you could have a celebrity to choose you as their sole person to follow, which celebrity would it be? Any why? I’d love to hear your answers!