* Disclaimer this is not a political piece*
If you are a pop culture fanatic like me, you are most likely aware of the uproar Kanye West has recently caused on Twitter. If you haven’t heard of it, long story short is that he has been supporting a certain red baseball hat and many controversial ideas. Regardless of what your political affiliation or beliefs are, everyone can agree that it got people talking- especially online. West’s followers, and anyone who saw his trending posts, were quick to use all 280 characters to express their thoughts on his radical ideas. As a digital marketer, it was a curious event to watch unfold! My main takeaways? Keep reading to find out.
The Power of a Thread
Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter is a social layer, not a platform. This means that its foundational design is based off of a search capability, which allows users to share information with their followers. This makes a lot of sense when you consider the wonderful world of #hashtags started on Twitter! Their ability to allow users to easily search and engage with content they are seeking out makes them perfect for the Twitter user design.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering, “So what does this have to do with the MAGA hat?” Glad you asked. One single tweet, or in Kanye’s case, a picture of a signed MAGA hat, can start a wave of controversy. Thousands if not millions can join the conversation at any point and take any position, and that is quite terrifying. It reminds all of us that it is never “just one tweet”. So when it comes to your personal, or company Twitter, it’s imperative that you vet each and every tweet. Make sure you are crafting tweets that aren’t polarizing and that target your ideal customer. We can’t make everyone on the internet happy, but we can certainly try to stay away from inflammatory content.
Influencers- They’re People Too
It is easy to forget that influencers and celebrities are just people at the end of the day. The beauty blogger your idolize? She gets a pimple occasionally. Your favorite actor? May have gotten a DUI (Sorry Iron Man!). Nevertheless, none of them are perfect- no matter how much their PR team tries to convince you they are.
At the end of the day, every celebrity and influencer is fighting to have a high Q-Score, which is the metric used to quantify their star power. Unfortunately, Q-Scores take a major hit when influencers fall victim to mistakes everyday people like you and I make. So one can only imagine how Kanye West’s Q-Score had been affected by his Tweets. Now more than ever, one’s online activity and presence dictates their Q-Score. This is because fans and followers consider this content to be an inside look into influencers’ lives.
If anything is positive, it is that the general public has a very clear image as to what goes on in Kanye West’s head. Although he is being authentic, it begs the question: is this building or burning his brand? We’ll just have to wait and see.
All Press is Good Press- or is it?
We have all heard the saying, “All Press Is Good Press”, but a majority of us also know this to be absolutely false. When it comes to brands and companies, your reputation is your value. So naturally you would think an entrepreneur, like Kanye, would take better care of it, right?
There are only so many stunts someone can pull before they lose fans. Many feel like if they continue to support Kanye West, they are indirectly supporting Donald Trump. By tying himself to a controversial politician, he stands to turn a majority of the general public against him. So if, which seems to be a very slim possibility, this is a PR stunt- it’s a bad one.
On the bright side, this is a great lesson for companies everywhere! Make sure your brand ambassadors, are free of negative press. The last thing anyone needs is their ambassador getting caught in a scandal and it negatively affecting the company. Regardless of how big your company is, no one is safe- take it from Nike! In the wake of Tiger Woods cheating scandal, they lost a whopping $12 Billion. So before your reach out to potential ambassadors do your homework, and make sure you are not tying yourself to a sinking boat.
In my opinion, Kanye West’s Twitter is a case study in the making. I am genuinely interested to see how his recent “free thinking” will affect the sales of his music and clothing line in the future. Until then, I think the only thing left to say is… I miss the old Kanye.