Background: A fan had been tweeting under Shaquille O’Neal’s name on Twitter, yet because this was occurring prior to Twitter’s rollout of a verification process for celebrities, Shaquille O’Neal couldn’t publicly disprove the credibility of his impostor. Not only that, but if Shaquille O’Neal did create an account on Twitter, how would he humanize his mega-celebrity status in order to thrive in a social networking environment like Twitter?
Approach: Digital Royalty trained the basketball superstar, @The_Real_Shaq, how to tweet both strategically and tactically on his “ShaqBerry” (as he likes to call it) so that he could tweet himself; authentically. Most importantly, to turn followers of Shaquille into friends and brand loyalists, Digital Royalty developed the concept of Random Acts of Shaqness. The idea behind Random Acts of Shaqness was that not only would followers get to interact with a virtual friend in a tangible, real-world way, but followers of Shaquille would be rewarded for following Shaquille and for how closely they followed his tweets.
Results: Shaquille O’Neal is currently ranked among Twitter’s top 10 celebrity users according to WeFollow.com. In addition to having a well-established presence, 2.5 million followers strong, the threat of imposters have been abolished. Not only is Shaquille regarded as an early adopter, but his tweets often become news – a testament to his credibility in the space. Additionally, Shaquille is a groundbreaker for furthering the idea that celebrities on social networking sites can be active participants of a community—engaging, responding and meeting followers. And since pioneering Random Acts of Shaqness, the concept has been adopted by celebrities of all types on Twitter who include Ellen DeGeneres, UFC’s Dana White, Lenny Kravitz and Chad Ocho Cinco.