Building an Instagram-worthy social media empire
This blog is brought to you by Laiba Fatima, Account Coordinator, MAVERICK
In today’s digital age, the power of social media is unavoidable. Followers, likes and retweets are no longer just a count of validation or attention, but instead are proven to be a form of cryptocurrency. They can even affect a person’s pay scale and quantify the cost of your next Instagram post.
So, it begs the question, should we be using social media more deliberately? Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have expanded far from their original inception and transformed into spaces for e-commerce and homes for some seriously big brands.
A prime example is the Kardashian clan. The sibling powerhouse continues to grow their multimillion/billion-dollar empire. Say what you want about America’s favourite reality TV family, but they have used social media to work in their favour, setting an untouchable precedent. So much so in fact, that the youngest sister, Kylie Jenner, was dubbed by Forbes in 2018 as the youngest ‘self-made’ billionaire by age 21.
Aside from the Kardashian/Jenner bloodline, we have another celebrity in our midst who has taken social media to a whole new level, beyond posting purely personal content. Can you guess? Here’s a hint – she is known as the queen of everything. Yup, it’s Rihanna (all hail queen Rih)! Rihanna has changed the game with Fenty Beauty and disrupted the makeup industry in many ways. Her brand was the first of its kind to offer a 40-shade range in her makeup line - something the beauty industry lacked for quite some time. Her client base grew as her brand exploded from makeup, to lingerie, to clothing. Now, ‘Fenty’ is a designer brand under the LVMH fashion house, a company which is home to luxury brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Fendi.
Both Kylie and Rihanna have taken advantage of their platforms to grow an empire. Jenner came into the cosmetics industry and shook things up by distributing her makeup line online via e-commerce. She was one of the very first people to use this business model and today it seems that almost all brands have followed suit, making it a possibility for customers to shop their products through Instagram. What makes this even more distinctive is that all of Kylie’s product launches and drops were promoted through Instagram. Jenner utilized her star power and direct access to millions of followers to sell out makeup collections.
Often, we see people preaching about taking a break from social media which albeit is justifiable considering the immense amount of content we consume daily. However, instead of using social media less, perhaps we should be using it more strategically.
What key lessons can we learn from these badass business babes?
Followers are a form of currency in today’s digital age. The more followers you have, the more exposure you gain for a brand or product. Hence why companies are willing to pay celebrities like the Kardashians millions of dollars for a single static post to promote their products.
For celebrities like Jenner and Rihanna, social media has provided an invaluable asset – a direct line of communication with their clientele. Using their platforms to launch products and brands gave them the opportunity to speak on-the-go, wherever they are, with the exact audience they wanted to reach. Their teams had the data right in front of them to see what customers wanted to see and what could be improved.
Traditional PR on its own is not enough anymore. Now is the time to think of innovative ways to engage audiences. One of the factors contributing to Rihanna’s success with social media is she is selling stories, not just the products. She promoted diversity through the selection of her models, spokespeople and everything she was creating. By weaving this narrative throughout her content, and as part of her brand’s story, she was able create an engaged community through her followers and transform into a global entrepreneur.