By Kayte K | on 08/11/16

What makes a celebrity’s social media brand stand out?

Thanks to social media, what it means to be a celebrity, and more specifically, what is expected of celebrities, has changed. Dramatically.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat aren’t just passive marketing channels anymore. Each serve as a platform designed solely to encourage engagement with the masses. Each offer unique and controlled ways to get the owner’s message, voice or persona across. A really dynamic social media presence for celebrities is about truly connecting, listening and having a conversation with their most important stakeholders—the fans. So what celebrities are working social media to their best advantage and how are they doing it?

Working off of the just-released Forbes 2016 World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities list, we revealed SurveyMonkey Measures: Celebrity—a comprehensive list analyzing the qualities that attribute to celebrity success. In a total of 5 surveys, we asked 2,500 Americans their opinions about several different attributes beyond a celebrity’s take-home pay, including their social media influence.

According to our respondents, when it comes to social media, nobody’s about to shake off Taylor Swift from the top spot at 44% amongst her fellow musicians. Outside of other musicians? Swift outranks comedian and daytime TV talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, who came in second, and former professional wrestler turned action movie powerhouse, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson comes in third.

When looking at each of their social numbers, these rankings shouldn’t surprise. Swift’s Insta alone has nearly 90 million followers. DeGeneres earned more than a billion cross-platform views in 2015. Dwayne Johnson boasts nearly 100 million Insta and Facebook followers combined. So how are they doing this?

Simply put—be real. It seems that the more personal and truly genuine that a celebrity can be with their fans and followers, the better it is for their brand. Just look at Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres. Our data shows they have the best overall brands even though they didn’t get high marks for being talented.

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Taylor Swift isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself to her millions of followers or stand up for herself for that matter. She regularly shares social media moments on tour of when she’s surprised and delighted her fans all over the world—proof that she is actively taking as much of an interest in her fans’ lives as they are showing in hers.

Ellen DeGeneres is known for championing homegrown talent found on YouTube and fans’ own social pages, and bringing them on her show. Her massive social media influence has paved the way for an ambitious new undertaking—The Ellen Digital Network. The channel announces her brand’s serious intentions of expanding on already thriving social media platforms and creating original digital content.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, also shows an impressive mastery of the unpredictable social media landscape. His posts are sprinkled throughout with personal anecdotes, inspirational advice, and vignettes of his life at work and funny or touching moments with his kids. This “be real” approach in combination with sharing self-improvement tips has also led to another brand geared towards inspiring his fans—Project Rock.

So it would seem that the perfect formula for a successful social media strategy is equal parts marketing, self-promotion and even in this new digital world, good old-fashioned one-on-one communication. People appreciate being listened to and engaged with, especially if it’s with their favorite artist, and even if millions are also in on the conversation.

Social media has certainly made its mark in pop culture and in business. We can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Get a headstart on your own social media strategy with our Online Social Networking Survey Template!