My fangirl days are still ongoing, but there was a time when it was even crazier than it is now. When I was in middle and high school, I followed a lot of bands (McFly, Honor Society, Allstar Weekend etc.) on Facebook and Twitter. I never realized that tweeting them and getting replies was a way of generating good PR for the band. My friends and I would stay up for hours upon hours when the band members would do things called #TweetSprees, meaning that they would try and reply to every person who sent them questions to answer. I could easily hit the tweet limit on a daily basis because of this. As fans, it was so cool to be in contact with the artists; it felt like they were your friend you could tweet and talk to. It was definitely a naive way of thinking because, in reality, it’s a good public image for the band: it shows that they are active on social media, shows that they engage with their fans, and take time out of their busy days to talk to them.
In the social media world, if it’s not bands doing this, it could be clothing brands, fast food chains, department stores, brands of any kind, and even other celebrities. It bridges the gap between consumer and producer, blurs the lines between normal person and celebrity that seems so intimidating in person. You can get quick responses to questions by tweeting brands and responses from actors and actresses; it all raises up their pub images, generates good PR for brands to promote new products, artists to promote new music, or an actor to promote a movie. As nice as it is to think “Oh, they’re tweeting me because I’m special!” it may not be entirely the case and that’s ok. As a fan of any brand, you have to remember that they need to make a living and by engaging on social media, that gets the awareness out there to help them do that.
By doing these Sprees and following, it’s easy for their manager (both PR and social) to track how many followers they gain, what is the sentiment they receive, and where the tweets are coming from. Sites like Hootsuite, TweetReach, and Klout are monitoring sites that anyone can use to track the stats. It makes the fans happy and helps the brand boost their sales, follower count, or likes counts, as well.
All in all, I enjoyed all of the tweeting I did back in the day. It was fun to talk to band members and have funny questions answer. The fan service is vital to any fandom, it keeps fans engaged with what’s going on and keeps their interest, so as transparent as it is in hindsight, in the moment it makes life a little more fun and exciting.