Never say you can’t make money from social networking. This is what the social media gurus at StrawberryFrog keep telling me. Don’t believe them. Just ask rapper 50 Cent.
He’s allegedly used Twitter to make more than $8m in just two days, by using the micro-blogging site to promote a company he has shares in.
His tweets helped boost the shares in marketing company H&H Imports after he plugged it to his 3.8 million followers. According to reports in the New York Post, 50’s tweets increased his shares to a value of $8.7m, but he’s since removed his comments, confessing on the site that he owns stock, and people should seek their own financial advice and do their homework before investing.
50 Cent isn’t the first celebrity to turn tweeting into cash. But it looks like the powers that be aren’t too happy about it.
There are rumours that 50 Cent could now be investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whilst over the in the UK the consumer watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), could be about to take celebrities to court who regularly tweet about products, without mentioning they are being paid to do so, as it apparently breaches consumer protection laws.
Celebrity endorsements on blogs are a huge industry here in the US, where stars like Snoop Dogg can earn thousands of dollars per tweet for promoting brands. But rules state that they have to be accompanied by the prefixes ‘ad’ or ‘spon’ to show the reference has been paid for, unlike in the UK.
The fact is, as pointed out by micro bloggers in the US or the OFT in the UK, that the integrity of information published online is crucial, so that people can make informed decisions on how to spend their money. However, when said info is being proffered by a celebrity, many followers do exactly as their status says and ‘follow’ what they’re told or what that particular celebrity is doing.
Having said that, the majority of people aren’t crazy, right? If an A-lister suddenly takes a keen interest in a particular face cream, you can bet your bottom dollar there’s a back-hander somewhere down the line.
Brands know full well the power celebrities can have on our purchasing decisions. So it’s no wonder 50 Cent turned into the multi-million dollar social media man.