What We Can Learn from Internet Celebrities
Peter Panda

Ayesha Curry is a bad example of a so called “internet celebrity”, but she is one nonetheless. I say she’s a bad example because she is also the wife of NBA superstar Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and is outspoken in cheering for her husband’s team. So, she comes with a built-in level of true celebrity, even if she has built her food empire and brand on her own.

Still, I had the good fortune to sit in on a Q&A session with Ms. Curry at a recent conference where she shared several insights about using her impressive social media footprint built around a passion for cooking as well as her entrepreneurial climb to become a Food Network TV host.

She even impressed me with a bit of a mea culpa, sharing her lessons learned from stepping outside the bounds of discerning taste in some of her sports-related tweets.

But for a brand in the room, or even someone representing an agency, the lessons were kind of predictable:

  • Be true to your brand;
  • Build a strategy;
  • Keep your audience first.

None of these lessons are ones we can’t find in every textbook, blog, marketing seminar or even internal meeting. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something valuable from a millennial social media influencer.

They all have one thing in common: They have personality.

Curry has an exceptional personality. She has an incredibly diverse heritage and background. She does have access to a celebrity world, through either her own contacts or certainly her husband’s, but none of that makes a bit of difference if you can’t hold an audience’s attention.

And Curry can hold an audience’s attention. She is engaging. She is interesting. She is intelligent. She is skilled at the fine art of “being on” — which some would call being well-spoken and others would call polished. She knows how to be on camera, how to present herself and her environment. And she has an insight about her audience that has driven her professional self.

She said, “I don’t think anyone has time anymore …”

It was a throw-off line made while answering a question about how she developed her cooking content, but it’s the reason her content resonates strategically. Her audience (mostly young, aspirational women and mothers) doesn’t have time to cook — certainly not healthily — so her content fills that need.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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