Social Media Strategies Inspired by Reality TV Star Power

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Reality television has become a guilty pleasure for many people, whether they admit to it or not. In fact, our digital landscape is saturated with people who when they’re not watching the shows, they’re reviewing the recaps, reading the gossip, and following the social networks covering it all. And, fueling the frenzy, are the reality show personalities from housewives to food network stars harnessing the power of social media networking to keep their shows in the forefront of pop culture. 

So, how can you learn to effectively promote your brand by watching reality stars market to and communicate with fans on social media?

Let’s start with Twitter. This powerful platform presents reality stars with the opportunity to tweet at any minute of the day to millions of people around the world. They use Twitter to live tweet during episodes and promote products. For example, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile retweets and responds to fans, frequently promoting her cookbooks and dessert line Dolci Della Dea. On Pi Day, Wakile tweeted out a photo of her cookbook Indulge with the caption “It’s Pi Day! Did you know my cookbook #Indulge will have a variety of different #mini pie recipes?” The reality star harnessed a holiday, a few hashtags and enticing pics of sweets to market her cookbook. 

Then there’s Facebook, which gives you the opportunity to write more than 140 characters about your business. Although new data shows less words are more when it comes to engaging fans. Andy Cohen’s show Watch What Happens Live uses Facebook to share photos, special guest news and sell merchandise. The show engages fans by asking them to post their questions for  guests and sharing memes.

Here are a few tips for rocking social networking like a reality star:

  • Link people to your company’s website frequently. Like Kathy Wakile, if you have a particular product that can relate to a national holiday, news or event, post about it so your followers will share it.
  • Have one-on-one conversations with the people who follow your account. If someone asks you a question, respond to them directly by clicking the “reply” button. Offer up questions to start conversations and get to know your followers.
  • Be consistent and relevant. The more you post and tweet, the more opportunity you have for connecting with people and growing your number of followers. If you’re engaging people, you’ll want to be pretty active on your accounts throughout the day.
  • Always be on trend. You’ll see reality stars tweeting and sharing news, fashion and food that has gone viral. Check out for news of trending hashtags and use them in your content, but use no more than three in your post or tweet or you’ll look desperate.
  • Be courteous. While there is always tons of drama happening on reality tv, the stars always give shout outs to fans and wish them a great morning and good night. Thank them also for sharing and retweeting your content and offer small rewards like discounts or branded merchandise to thank them for acts of social sharing kindness.
  • Invest in your brand. If one of your posts or tweets is receiving a lot of attention, promote it to reach an even bigger audience. Like any marketing campaign, you should allocate a budget to support your activity on social media. Events and product launches will need that extra push. Let’s face it, once you engage your circle of friends, existing customers and colleagues, you’ll want to consider tools like TwitterCounter and Twitter for Business to boost your number and attract newbies. Just be weary of spam followers because having bigger numbers is not necessarily better, unless people are engaged.

Instagram takes on a different approach to connecting with fans through photography. The popular app may seem more personal than marketable; however, reality star Snooki uses Instagram to promote her television appearances, her book Baby Bumps and her sunglasses line. Taking photos of your products being used and displayed creatively goes a long way. When posting photos of your products on Instagram, be sure to snap a pic like Snookie:

  • Post a caption that tells your followers what the product is, how it can be used and post a link to buy it. If the product is not available online, mention the alternative method for customers to get the product.
  • Just like Twitter, use hashtags to tag the name of the product and your company’s name. Instagram users will be able to find your photo just by searching your company’s name.
  • Engage by following others and liking their photos. If you push out content without participating, you’ll find little success marketing on Instagram.
  • Run a contest. For example, post a photo of one of your new products and ask your followers “Whoever can name this product first, wins it for free!” Followers get excited about engaging in a competition and other competitors may want to buy the product if they don’t end up winning it. Plus, who doesn’t love free stuff?

The more social media accounts you use, the more successful you will be at marketing to different users and communities. Reality stars are always consistent about sharing their news, pics and products on many accounts because just like anything else, people prefer different ways of communicating and getting their news.

Now that you know the dos, there are don’ts when it comes to using social media like a reality tv star. Here’s a few don’ts, which I’m sure publicists and agents share with their stars:

  • Never ignore your audience. Not interacting with your followers or failing to actively post will turn them off and you’ll lose them.
  • Think before you post. Make sure your content is free of profanity and negativity. If someone writes to you with something you might disagree with, be sure to respond professionally.
  • Don’t stray from content people have become accustomed to reading and sharing on your accounts. Your works may not come across as genuine. For example, Kim Kardashian was blasted on social media recently for taking a break from her usual selfies, belfies and pictures of North West to pass comment on the ethically controversial Syrian civil war. Her backing of #SaveKessab has received a mixed reaction from her followers, but her passive involvement has also been praised by the Syrian National Coalition.
  • Nobody likes a thief. Be sure to be creative and original. Stealing images or content is illegal and not a great way to start communicating your brand to people.
  • Don’t be repetitive. Many reality stars excel at reinventing themselves and staying on the social media ball with new pics and news related to their lives and brands. Spamming your audience constantly with the same information can be boring. And watch out for automated sharing tools on your social sites. They can come across as robotic.

If you’re a fan of reality tv or not, you can learn from how pop culture social media giants communicate and market their brands. Whether you’re following Nicole Polizzi “Snooki” with 6.94 million followers or the international advertising, marketing and public relations agency of Ogilvy & Mather with 94.3K followers, you’ll learn a thing or two about self-promotion.


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Julia Palazzo

Julia Palazzo

Julia Palazzo’s contributions include writing blog posts, interviewing clients and posting client events on online calendars. Julia is currently a sophomore at Rutgers University, majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Political Science. She just finished a Production internship at The Rachael Ray Show in New York City. She aspires to work in television post graduation. She is a social media addict and she can’t go a day without having chocolate in her diet!


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