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3 Social Media Marketing Lessons From The Kardashian-Jenners

Blog   /   Social
June 8, 2015

The headline reads “Kim Kardashian may have broken the internet, but Caitlyn Jenner united it”. In case you don’t pay a lot of attention to one of America’s most talked-about families, something revolutionary happened over the last few weeks. Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, came out as transgender and aired this news on television as well as the cover of Vanity Fair. Many expected a media backlash that never came—from the chattering classes to the social media conversation, the message was mostly one of love and support.

Why is this relevant to social media marketing, you ask? Because there has been a fascinating shift demonstrated by how brands reacted (or didn’t) to the news online. And as a company that has social media in its veins, we have been watching this event unfold closely. In this week’s blog post, we will share the marketing lessons that we learned from the Kardashian family.

  1. Brands don’t have a place in every conversation – When it comes to civil rights issues, or events that have to do with the welfare of individuals, brands trying to capitalize on big events like last week’s news often see backlash or are ignored by their audience. In the case of Caitlyn Jenner, brands have generally remained silent except for those specific brands that that have a long history of standing side by side with LGTBQ activists. One example is Gap, where they have publicly stated that “Gap Inc. stands with GLAAD in our belief that lifting voices out of isolation—and vocalizing support—is a critical step in achieving equality.” So if you can’t add value, stay quiet; not every event is a bandwagon moment. This being a perfect example. Unless your company is in support and is celebrating and creating a greater awareness of LGBTQ issues, joining the media train ends up being seen as empty marketing.
  2. If people are talking about you, control the conversation – The Kardashian-Jenner family does this well. They know they are being talked about already. Instead of letting the rumour mills run wild, they face things head-on and steer the conversation strategically. Caitlyn Jenner coming out as transgender is the best example of someone who knew there would be commotion around the news. From interviews, to the cover of Vanity Fair, to the teaser trailer of her upcoming show, she has had complete control of the conversation, earning a positive reaction from the general public.
  3. Ignore the Trolls – listen to global sentiment – a lesson which is fairly self explanatory, but also a good reminder. With any sensitive news item, there is always a group of angry individuals who make more noise than the level-headed masses. Instead of focusing on those people, pay attention to the positive, particularly when it resonates with global shifts in perspective and opinion. I mentioned before that the overwhelming response to Jenner’s news was positive. Of course, there were pockets of people who didn’t see it as such. But this is a great example of seeing the whole through the parts. On social media, you’ll always have trolls and people putting you or your brand down. While your audience may not feel as strongly about your next announcement as hers did last week, it’s a reminder to look past the individual comments towards the overall sentiment.

Every week, we take a newsworthy topic and share relevant content and social media marketing lessons that can be drawn from seemingly unrelated subjects, such as boy band member changes and the Snake People. Tune in next week for another surprise post.