On December 1, a slew of celebrities “died” online. Their digital identities at Twitter and Facebook were killed off in an attempt to raise $1 Million for Alicia Key’s BuyLife.org, in conjunction with her truly worthwhile charity, KeepAChildAlive.org. The charity provides “treatment love and support to families affected by HIV/AIDS.”
I commented on the drive for CNN on Showbiz Tonight (above) and said I didn’t think there was a snowball’s chance in hell that they wouldn’t raise the money. But I was also asked a question that didn’t end up in the commentary. The question was whose followers do you think will have the greatest impact on the campaign. The answer to that question requires a bit more analysis.
Big Number Don’t Necessarily Translate To Big Engagement
My response was that big numbers don’t necessarily translate into big engagement. I cited the difference between Justin Timberlake and User as an example. Justin Timberlake has roughly 3.5 Million followers on Twitter, compared to Usher’s almost 1 Million. But when you look at their Klout numbers, Usher’s engagement with his smaller audience creates between 5 to 7 times the number of retweets and mentions as Timberlake’s engagement. The differences between their Facebook fan pages is fairly stark as well. When you read the status updates from each. Usher tends to be more conversational in the updates to his 10 million Facebook fans, while Timberlake’s 5 million fans get what feels more like a series of press releases.
The success of this charity endeavor would seem to fall on whether their fans were truly engaged and whether NOT being able to use their social media channels would hinder their ability to raise the funds.
In truth, the accounts are not really dead. They’re mostly dead. The various Twitter accounts have continued to put out sporadic messages, like this tweet from Alicia Keys, “@aliciakeys – is dead but Elizabeth & her sone are alive thannks to KCS http://bit.ly/1Z5t7P Text ALICIA to 90999 & reply YES to give $10.”
At the time of this writing, two days into the campaign, they have raised $183,603. More than half of that was raised on the first day. At this current pace, the $1 Million goal won’t be hit until after Christmas. Will they really refrain from using those channels for anything but the sporadic updates to reach the goal until then?
Annette Gallagher, a Facebook friend, had this to say about their absence this morning: “I think the pics and such may have creeped out some potential donors, as well as the “stunt” aura around the whole thing. It is a fantastic charity though, and hey, I won’t complain if it takes Ms. Kardashian a little time to get back on the internets. :)”
It’s the last part of that comment that I’ve heard several times, “I wouldn’t mind if (fill in the blank) stopped tweeting. Others have chimed in with their thoughts as well, and they all lean toward, “I don’t really care if they stop.” This falls in line with a post this morning about four social media myths that fooled marketers… one of them being that “Twitter’s success hinges on celebrities.” I never personally bought into that one, and the truth of that becomes clearer every day. Personally, I hope they get to the $1 Million goal quickly. It’s a great cause.
What’s your take? How do you think this campaign will fair and how influential do you believe celebrities are in the social media space?