Hiring high-priced celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian to tout products via Twitter doesn't pay off for big-name brands, according to a new study.
Research from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia revealed that although celebrity-sponsored tweets can be helpful for little-known companies, they have minimal influence on young people when it comes to familiar brands.
"It appears that celebrity tweets do little beyond communicating product information or encouraging consumers to search online," said marketing researcher Janée Burkhalter, who was one of the study's authors.
The results also indicated that companies with established and familiar brands should not use Twitter's "Promoted By" option.
"This was perceived by respondents as lowering their opinion of the brand," Burkhalter said.
With celebrities like Kardashian commanding $10,000 per tweet, the study says, marketers would be smart to direct their budgets for social media toward a better return on investment.
Burkhalter and co-author Natalie Wood recommended that major brands aim their Twitter marketing efforts toward increasing their number of followers, which would allow for more direct interaction with their target audience.
They point to Whole Foods Market, which uses Twitter successfully to find out what its customers like to read and watch, introduces food podcasts and invites followers to upcoming events.
Other companies effectively use the tool to respond in real time to customer service needs and offer exclusive deals and discounts for followers.
The study did discover that star-powered tweets are an effective strategy for lesser-known brands looking to capture the attention of a large audience quickly.
The research was recently presented at the International Advertising & Integrated Marketing Communications Conference.