Why audiences are turning away from highly polished, “picture-perfect” posts and demanding that brands and celebrities “get real.”

Beyoncé recently shared a new video detailing her hair routine, featuring products from her self-founded hair and beauty line – Cécred. The video sparked massive online discussion among fans, who were not only interested in her hair care but also surprised by Beyoncé’s decision to share such a video, given her carefully curated public image. She typically limits her posts to her music or pictures of herself. So, seeing a hair tutorial video from her is very out of the ordinary.

Obviously, this video promotes her hair product line Cécred; however, this begs the question, why does Beyoncé suddenly need to share a very personal, low-production style video to promote her products? Beyoncé isn’t alone in this trend – other celebrities, like Kylie Jenner, have also recently joined platforms like TikTok, sharing ‘Get Ready With Me’ style videos where they subtly promote their products, often filmed in casual settings like their cars.

So why is this shift happening? In the early to mid-2000s, celebrities could easily sell their product lines solely off the power of their name. Even during Instagram’s peak, a simple picture of a celebrity with a product could lead to a sell-out. However, those days are gone. Social media has diluted the concept of “fame,” making it possible for virtually anyone – even your neighbor – to become ‘internet famous’ overnight through low-quality videos. Social media influencers and micro-influencers have demonstrated that literally, anyone can influence people’s thoughts or actions.

Celebrities and big brands must now adapt to this shifting online landscape. Their competition isn’t just other big names; it’s regular people. Social media requires people to ‘be social,’ but how can celebrities and brands do this when they’ve spent decades defining ‘fame’ by distancing themselves from the public and participating only in exclusive social circles and events?

As a result, the barriers between celebrities, brands, and audiences are crumbling. Celebrity endorsements and high-cost marketing campaigns are losing their effectiveness. Online audiences and consumers are no longer swayed by celebrities or brands that don’t engage with social media. Without authentic connections and communication through these platforms, online consumers feel disconnected from celebrities and brands and are less inclined to invest in what they offer. With the rise of platforms like TikTok and the demand for authentic, uncurated content, audiences are turning away from highly polished, “picture-perfect” posts, demanding that brands and celebrities “get real”.

Now more than ever, brands and celebrities are focusing on creating authentic and unfiltered content, including behind-the-scenes looks at product development, story posts of candid moments from everyday life, user-generated content showing real customers using their products in natural settings, or hair tutorials and get-ready-with-me videos.

Live streaming is another effective tool brands and celebrities are using to engage with their audience in real-time. Platforms like Instagram Live and Twitch allow them to connect with their audiences on a more personal level and respond to comments in real-time, coming across as more authentic and building a stronger connection with their followers.

Storytelling has become essential for effective marketing in the digital world. Brands and celebrities are using narratives to create emotional connections with their audiences, creating compelling stories that resonate with them on a deeper level. By sharing authentic stories about who they are, their experiences, or brand values, brands and celebrities can ‘humanize’ themselves and create a sense of trust and relatability among their audiences.

Gamification has also emerged as a powerful tool for engaging audiences. Brands are incorporating gaming elements into their marketing campaigns, such as quizzes, challenges, and contests, to incentivize participation and engage with their followers.

Overall, the shifting paradigm of the social media landscape has drastically changed online marketing, where authenticity, engagement, and innovation reign supreme. Brands and celebrities must adapt to this changing landscape by embracing new social media strategies and forms of communication that prioritize genuineness, storytelling, and engagement.