Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

How Celebs Use Social Media for Self-Promotion and Charity

Many of us grew up glued to the television. From Saturday morning cartoons to late-night movies, it seemed like there was always a hot new program grabbing our attention. They were even entertained by the commercials, with celebrities touting the latest cologne, sportswear, or trendy shoes. Back in the day, it was the biggest form of advertising we had. We trusted their opinion because of their beauty, leadership, and talent. After all, why wouldn’t we trust Sofía Vergara and her luscious locks on her shampoo recommendation?

Fast forward a few decades and celebrity self-promotion has become a normal part of our daily lives. You can always find superstars from Kim Kardashian to Jessica Simpson promoting their latest product on Instagram or Facebook. There’s no doubt you’ve spotted these ads while scrolling through your news feed. By being active on social media, we allow celebrity endorsements to enter our homes and influence our purchasing decisions. Like it or not, it’s an effective way to spread the word about a brand!

Celebrities in Advertising

When you think of Calvin Klein, your mind probably can’t help but wander to the days when heartthrob David Beckham proudly repped their stylish boxers. If you love wearing cosmetics and staying on top of the latest trends, you also probably picture Jennifer Aniston anytime you hear the brand name Aveeno. Either way, your ability to recall brands based on who represents them and vice versa is what makes this advertising tactic so effective. This strategy has encouraged celebrities to branch off and create products of their own and market their own brand. Next thing you know, their newest endeavor is following you everywhere from Twitter to Snapchat. Here are some celebs who are best known for their never-ending self-promotion!

Jessica Alba – The Honest Company

Launched in 2012, The Honest Company is a household product company created by actress Jessica Alba. From all-natural sunscreen to organic diapers, The Honest Company creates clean, safe versions of products you rely on every day. Jessica Alba was inspired to launch the business after the birth of her first child in 2008 when she realized how many artificial ingredients were present in baby products. Now you can find The Honest Company all over Jessica Alba’s social media accounts and on the shelves of your local Target.

Drew Barrymore – Flower Beauty

Drew Barrymore Social MediaThere must have been something in the air in 2012, as it was that same year Drew Barrymore launched her own cosmetics company called Flower Beauty. It was Barrymore’s dream to create products that were both cruelty-free and affordable. From day one, her products have been a hit with budget-conscious beauty lovers across the country. From affordable mascara to fun eye shadow pallets, It’s no wonder she loves promoting the brand on her social media accounts!

Gwyneth Paltrow – Goop

Though it sounds like something you’d find at the back of a refrigerator, Goop is actually a lifestyle brand owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. It officially started in 2008 as a newsletter, but later grew into an online cosmetics and skincare shop. Followers of Gwyneth’s social media accounts are no stranger to her entrepreneurial endeavors. From Facebook posts to Instagram stories, you can find the latest Goop updates on all her accounts. It’s pretty genius if you ask us, considering she has over 5 million followers of her combined social media profiles!

Celebrities Who Use Self-Promotion for Good

Sure, these are all great forms of advertising, but what benefit does it add to society? The good news is plenty of celebs are asking themselves that same question. Whether it’s supporting cancer research or encouraging followers to donate to their favorite charity, there are plenty of ways to have an impact on the world while still promoting a brand.

A Quiet PlaceActors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt teamed up before the release of their film, A Quiet Place, to bring some good to the world. If you follow either of them on social media, you probably saw the funny videos posted by the duo where they explain that people who donate at least $10 to the Malala Fund within a certain timeframe have a shot at hanging out with them during the premiere of their movie. Sure, it was great PR for their upcoming flick, but they also used their fame to help others.

In case that story didn’t warm your heart enough, try this one on for size: Stephen Colbert recently hosted a special contest benefiting Next for Autism. Participants who donated to the fundraiser were entered into a drawing to hang out under Colbert’s desk with Jon Stewart in an upcoming episode of The Late Show. In all, the campaign raised $451,000 for the organization and drummed up some extra press for The Late Show– a win-win in our book.

Even if you’re not famous, you can never go wrong partnering with a local charity or non-profit. Not only is it an overall good thing to do, but your followers will appreciate knowing you’re not just in it for the money or attention. With that said, don’t forget to mix it up a bit and create other engaging content or even offer some freebies to your followers. Constant selling can really turn off your audience and encourage them to unfollow you. By being innovative, engaging, and authentic like Jessica Alba or Gwyneth Platrow, you’re destined for success!

Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten loves the great outdoors (as long as there's no snow on the ground), and spends a good amount of her free time traveling. When she isn't traveling, she's spending time with her family, reading a new book, or working on her next home improvement project. If she could live anywhere in the world, you'd find her moving into Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World.


  1. Alex Brodsky

    While I was at WB, Zac Levi of ‘Chuck’ raised $50,000 for a charity (I can’t remember which one) solely through his twitter feed. Social media has certainly helped in that regard.

    On the other side, celebs also have to be careful when Tweeting. Upsetting a certain fan base can often lead to more headaches than benefits for them.

    Ashton Kutcher had to give up control of his Twitter feed after a couple poorly thought out tweets in a row caused a firestorm that could end a career.

    • Candice J.

      I agree with Alex. I love to see anybody celebrity or not support and create good causes through the power of social media. But it’s a slippery slope and you have to be very careful and particular about what you’re saying and putting out there. You never know what can end a career or business!

    • Eric

      Well…as I like to put it, just because you are able to say what you’d like on social media? Doesn’t mean you should. Most people don’t have a problem with this, while others (as you’ve named), can’t help themselves.

      Props to those using their techonological powers for good.

  2. Paul

    I know that some of celebs used apps like to get more followers. But I don;t get it cuz’ they are already popular and they don’t need this. Greed? Maybe

  3. emma027

    It is easy to choose a celebrity but it is tough to establish a strong association between the product and the endorser.

  4. Pankaj Sharma (Justin Bieber Fan)

    It’s great when celebrities do the charity work. It inspires their fans to do the same, like do something good for the humanity.

    Celebs like Kim Kardashian only use social media to promote their products. While Lady Gaga does amazing charity work. That’s the difference between some celebrities.

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