Tennis star Serena Williams makes more than $20 million a year in product endorsements, primarily through TV advertising – Nike, Wilson, Gatorade, Nabisco, and more. And, of course, she is not the only one. Companies have a long history of using celebrities to appear in and endorse their products. Especially after television became a common household activity. The airways became full of advertisers. Showing a movie star in the ad was an effective way to sell products and services.
Now that social media has become such a phenomenon, celebrities have discovered that they can make even more money by using those platforms wisely, both in cooperation with businesses and on their own. Here are just a few ways celebrities are increasing their wealth via social media.
Letting Brands Market on Their Sites
All celebrities have presences on social media. And because of their status, of course, they have huge followings. Smart businesses who have the advertising budgets can pay big bucks to promote their brands on the sites of celebrities. Recently, for example, Vidal Sassoon promoted itself on a post of Vanessa Hudgens, showcasing her great curls, on her Tumblr account.
Celebrity Endorsements via Twitter
Rather than just allow brands into market, celebrities are now paid to mention products and services in their tweets. In addition to maintaining their own social media accounts and using good strategies to promote their brands, companies are willing to pay hefty sums for those tweets when there are millions of followers involved. This is an easy way for the celebrity to make money, and it is actually much cheaper for the company. It does not have to pay for an expensive photo shoot and then purchase advertising time on major television networks. This means the company can pay the celebrity a large sum and still save money. After all, content marketing on their own is tough – they have to come up with catchy titles, phrases, slogans, and creative content. Using a celebrity eliminates all of that work.
Kim Kardashian, for example, with millions of Twitter followers, has probably been the biggest “entrepreneur” using her account to endorse any number of products. Just through her wedding to Kris Humphries, it is estimated that she made $18 million via Twitter. She received free gifts in exchange for endorsement tweets for some companies. Her sister has also gotten into the act.
Khloe Kardashian, with 8.3 million Twitter followers, now charges in the neighborhood of $13,000 for a tweet endorsing a product or service.
Other celebrities from the past, whose careers are pretty much over, are still getting small amounts for endorsement tweets. A lot depends on the number of followers they have and the demographics of those followers. If a TV star from the late 20th century is still popular with his/her peer age group and has over a hundred thousand followers, then companies targeting that demographic are wise to pay a few hundred dollars for tweets.
Other celebrities that are paid for tweets include the following:
- Mike Tyson – $3,250
- Jared Leto – $13,000
- Snooki – $7,800
- Kendra Wilkinson – $7,800
- Sean Lowe – $6,500
Promoting their Own Interests
Celebrities, of course, promote their own movies, concerts, and appearances. Lady Gaga, for example, tweets out hints to fans about her new albums. She keeps them interested and following her, and, once that information is solidified, fans hear it from her and flock to spend their money on music or concert tickets.
But celebrities also branch out into other business activities. Donald Trump, for example, has 3.4 million Twitter followers. Granted, he had quite a bit less before he decided to run for President, but he still used Twitter a great deal to promote his products (everything from clothing, to steaks, to water and more), along with every other social media platform where he has a presence.
The Kardashians have a clothing line and online clothing store which they promote on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
Some celebrities are making money by investing in social media themselves. Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto have both invested huge amounts of money in Reddit. As a result, they plan to reap huge amounts from their investments. Ashton Kutcher is making huge sums off of his online investment – Buzzfeed.
Jessica Alba began the Honest Company and touts her toxin-free household products on her social media accounts.
Even Justin Bieber has gotten into the act. He plans to make a bundle on his social media photo-sharing platform – Shots.
Celebrities may be best known for the television, movie, and music fame or their athletic accomplishments. But when they have a social media presence with huge audiences, they have become marketing tools and are happy to rake in some extra dough being just that.