The introduction of social media into society has enabled individuals the ability to communicate quickly to a unique audience. While social media has typically focused on self-promotion and advertising, people now have the ability to share their ideas and beliefs. Influential figures, such as celebrities, often take a break from glamorizing their lifestyle to raise awareness toward issues that are important to them. Kim Kardashian has posted about various health issues and gun control to her 156m followers, while notable singers including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Lady Gaga have posted support for LGBTQ and mental health.
Currently, celebrities have utilized their popularity and status to bring to attention the deadly wildfires that are rampant across Australia. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban donated $500,000 to volunteer firefighters, and requested their 8m+ Instagram followers provide additional support. Similarly, Margot Robbie urged her 17.7m Instagram followers to donate online in support of fire relief. The efforts have reached more than one social media platform, as actor and comedian Celeste Barber started a fundraiser on Facebook that has already generated $26 million for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donations Fund. Furthermore, Dacre Montgomery, along with other actors from the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things,” started a GoFundMe page for the Australian Red Cross. Thus far, $250,000 has been raised.
Celebrities give their input on more than just environmental issues. Rose McGowan, a celebrity and one of the faces behind the #metoo movement, just recently posted a tweet apologizing to Iran for the assassination of Iran General Soleimani. Her tweet said, “Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us.” McGowan has received much backlash from this message, as criticism of the President’s policy caused many to question her allegiance to the United States.
Social media also played a crucial role in the 2016 presidential election, replacing more traditional news outlets such as papers and television. Many candidates turned to social media platforms to promote their policies. In addition, celebrities used various social media platforms as a means to gain support and endorse candidates. For example, Gene Simmons, a musician and founding member of the band Kiss, was vocal about the benefits of building a wall between the United States and Mexico in his endorsement of President Trump. On the other hand, Madonna posted an anti-Trump photo on Instagram as part of her endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Social media continues to gain importance as an influential marketing tool. Keeping this in mind, the topic of politics is highly sensitive and has the potential to evoke a negative response from your audience. We believe the potential risks of offending your audience may cause celebrities to avoid conveying political views when promoting a brand or cause.