A grassroots internet celebrity offers an innovative way to boost a brand’s authenticity
While influencers might reach millions of fans, likes and shares won’t pay the bills. However, with new platforms like Cameo, a nascent internet celebrity is able to monetise their fame. This is driving growth in ‘grassroots celebrities’, who aren’t household names but can make a comfortable living from their status within a given niche. Unknown beyond their community, these grassroots celebrities nevertheless have an important part to play in the way brands reach their audience.
The rise of direct-to-fan monetisation
Cameo is the perfect example of how the relationship between fans and their favourite internet celebrity is changing. The platform allows fans to purchase personalised videos directly from their favourite celebrities, much like an autograph. The platform’s popularity has exploded, with over 1.3 million Cameos purchased in 2020 alone. This is partly because of the incredible popularity of social video content, with Cameo enabling users to essentially commission videos from a celebrity of their choosing. You can see how impactful a well-chosen Cameo can be from the reactions of recipients:
The attraction for fans is obvious, but celebrities also gain a valuable income stream – Cameos can cost upwards of several hundred pounds, depending on the fame of the internet celebrity. As Steven Galanis, Cameo’s CEO says, “direct-to-fan monetisation is the only way to bridge the gap between fame and monetisation”. A second, perhaps more important, benefit, is that this strengthens the ties between the fan and the celebrity, turning casual fans into ‘superfans’.
Superfans sustain grassroots celebrities
Kevin Kelly’s famous ‘1,000 Fans Theory’ posits the idea that a celebrity doesn’t need to be an A-lister to make a living. If they have a following of 1,000 committed superfans, who will reliably spend around £100 a year on the celebrity’s output, they’ll make a comfortable living. Cameos fit perfectly with this: celebrities need no agent, no support team, no preparation or marketing, and they can perform as many as they want to. This helps to sustain a greater number of grassroots celebrities, resulting in a diverse range of personalities across nearly every human interest imaginable.
Reaching an audience through a grassroots internet celebrity
Brands must be aware of the opportunity to reach a specific audience. Successful marketing focuses on reaching networks of people, and the grassroots celebrities associated with a particular network are an excellent starting point. Influencer marketing is one example of this, but there are plenty of others. The sheer amount of content on YouTube, for example, means there are many channels dedicated to everything from military history, to fishing, to book reviews, and in each niche, there will be well-known figures.
The most important things in marketing haven’t changed: personality and authenticity are key to online marketing, just as they were on TV and in print. Grassroots celebrities have both, and as such are the perfect partner for brands who want to reach their audience.
- Direct-to-fan monetisation helps to support a wider range of ‘grassroots celebrities’.
- These celebrities may be very niche, and so are closely connected to their audience.
- Brands can ‘borrow’ their authenticity and personality if they choose their partners wisely.
The challenge, for brands, is to identify the right partners to work with. If you’re looking to enhance your brand’s performance online, then get in contact with Ambitious PR today, or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org