I Can Make You a Celebrity Overnight

Kanye West references aside, all it takes is an upset to tip the scales from general obscurity to household name. This week we have two prime examples, all well documented through the social media broadcast channels showing the reason why managing and listening for your online brand is crucial for when you blow up! For Esperanza Spalding and Trevor Bayne, it’s been quite the week in their respectful industries.

If you don’t already know, Spalding upset Justin Bieber at the Grammy’s for best new artist, and Bayne became the youngest ever Daytona 500 winner. Despite the pop culture significance and the debates from the Beliebers and Carl Edwards fans of the world, both were certainly far from “nobodies:” Esperanza is a well toured jazz bassist and the youngest professor at Berklee School of Music at age 20 while Bayne has been racing since he was 5, has had a few starts in various NASCAR events, and is active on social media already.

What’s so interesting to me is the explosion they have made on the social media world. Just a week ago Spalding was another professor at Berklee, and Bayne a young buck in the pro racing scene. They both were aspiring professionals and had a brand strategy, as evidenced by their Twitter and Facebook page structure. However in just a few short moments, you have a change of fate and your follower numbers and mentions can rack up quicker than a skee-ball game.

Look at their numbers before and after the “blow” as I like to call it.

Esperanza Spalding:

  • Before her win: Approx: 7,500 Twitter Followers
  • After her win: Approx: 21,433 Twitter Followers
  • Total: 185% jump

Trevor Bayne:

  • Before his win: Approx 17,900 Twitter Followers before the Daytona 500
  • After his win: Approx 28,946 Twitter Followers
  • Total: 61% jump

(Stats are up-to-date as of Tuesday 2/22, this number is higher now for both, thanks to Twittercounter.com)

So what happens when you move from relative obscurity to the front page of every sports and entertainment publication on the map? Well for one there’s a lot of chatter going around about you and your brand, whatever industry that may be in. (This applies to nearly every industry) For second, there may be a lot of misinformation due to a lack of public information, and for third, you’re going to be given a unique arena to make your brand known to a large audience. How do you manage it all?

  1. Set up a listening strategy - This can be as simple as using Google Alerts, this pulls in all mentions of your brand from the web and Google Search into a convenient place. (Throw in a few misspellings of your brand too, between touch screens and rapid-fire tab switching, there’s sure to be a mistake made now and then.)
  2. Search EVERYWHERE – It’s not just traditional media where you’ll be mentioned. Twitter can save searches as RSS feeds, take advantage of this! Twilerts is a great resource to use that will deliver keyword mentions from Twitter right to your inbox. Some other great resources are social mention, another tool that searches 100+ social networks, as well as another great platform: backtype. Whatever source (or combo) you use is up to you, it’s about the action of active listening, not always the method.
  3. Assess the mentions, and take appropriate action – Use all this qualitative data to see where your brand stands in the eyes of the public. Be careful, sometimes the small commenters will get you down, but remember that in this new digital world, everyone’s a critic. See who is saying what, many times an influencer’s word will be something to act upon sooner than something from Joe Schmo (this does not mean to discount the little guy whatsoever). Take action, address and/or correct errors if there are any, support those who support you, and spread the word out to your own channels. You are your biggest cheerleader, so start spreading the good word and enjoy the rise to the top!

What kinds of listening and monitoring do you do for yourself or your clients? Leave some suggestions in the comments below.

(PS, I wrote this post for my company, Honkfish, but I thought I’d post it here as well for those who aren’t aware of their site.)