Last month DaniWeb reported how Justin Bieber beat Lady Gaga to become the King of YouTube with the most viewed video ever. Gaga has proven harder to tackle on Twitter where the quirky pop star has just knocked Britney Spears off the top spot in terms of the most followers. But what can you learn from this battle of the celebrities and can you convert that knowledge into hits for your online business?
According to social media popularity chart compiler Famecount , as of today Lady Gaga can count some 5,720,931 followers on Twitter which lifts her above Britney Spears on 5,699,039 . Justin Bieber, on the other hand, is currently in sixth place with just 4,688,298 putting him behind Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres and Barack Obama. That, however, could change very quickly indeed as the massive Bieber fan machine swings into action.
There is some evidence of this already as the weekly new followers figures reveal: Lady Gaga added 172,086 last week while Justin Bieber found himself an amazing 196,303 new online fans . By comparison, the former rising star of Twitter, Britney Spears, could only add a relatively meagre 102,243 followers.
Things are somewhat different on Facebook though, where the sheer volume of members (half a billion and rising fast) has meant a much broader spread of success at the top. Famecount has a Texas Hold'em Poker game as the most popular with 23,126,928 fans, closely followed by the late Michael Jackson on 18,972,586. Facebook itself is the third most popular page in terms of fan count, but Lady Gaga is the most popular living person on Facebook down in fourth overall place with 16,372,106 fans.
On Facebook, Justin Bieber has yet to break the top twenty. His 10,093,729 fans put him at number 21, one place above the fictional Dr Gregory House and one place below Lil Wayne. Bieber is also rising fast on Facebook though, he's added 479,471 fans this last week. That's not as many as Gaga with her 512,899 new fans or Eminem with an astonishing 708,433 fans added in a single week.
Taking Facebook, Twitter and YouTube into account, Famecount also compiles an overall popularity chart and this has Lady Gaga at number one, followed by Barack Obama and Justin Bieber. But if you look at the daily or weekly overall popularity counts then it is Bieber who is the one to watch as he tops both.
In a world where social media presence is increasingly important, to businesses online and off, such follower counts are pretty unobtainable to ordinary folk who can but dream of reaching such heights. I've been on Twitter since February 2007, and have managed to attract 1547 followers to date . Admittedly I only post pointers to interesting online news stories and have not tried cavorting nearly naked on stage as of yet.
That said, there are lessons to be learned by business in the dramatic rise of both Gaga and Bieber in social media circles. Yes, these stars have the power of celebrity on their side without doubt, but that alone is not enough to propel them ever upwards through a sea of celebs all of whom want to be loved, and want to be the 'most popular' on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
What Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have both done, and the online business can follow albeit to a much less dramatic conclusion, is engage their audience. Many celebrities never actually use Twitter or Facebook, leaving such chores to the resident nerd in the public relations office or someone from the record label. However, reading the various social media postings by both stars you get the impression that they are actually participating by writing their own stuff.
And that is compelling stuff: the opportunity to reach out and touch your idol, even if only virtually, is infectious. Social media works in this regard as it allows anyone to feel that they have a connection with the celebrity they are following, that the celeb is speaking directly to them. And it is this that can be exploited by the savvy business. By talking directly to their customers it's possible to build a closer relationship with them.
I admit that I am no fan of either Gaga or Bieber as far as their musical output is concerned, but their grasp of online social media is to be admired. In fact, it is to be recommended to anyone who is looking for a bigger online reach. Who would have thought it, celebs providing an online business masterclass?