Kylie Jenner is literally, like, one of my best friends

Ok so maybe I lied in the title, but hear me out. I view Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat story and like her Instagrams just as much as my best friend’s posts. I almost feel as though I know the ins and outs of her personality – but in reality, I only know the sides of her personality that she wants her viewers to see. So why are people so fascinated with following celebrities on social media? Although Snapchat has not released any specific stats, they have hinted that Kylie Jenner is the single most viewed user on Snapchat, and her app has been reviewed more than twice as many times as her sister’s platforms. Can the other Kardashian siblings keep up?

Snapchat

Upon visiting the Snapchat corporate offices, Kylie Jenner was told she is the most viewed person in Snapchat history. I follow Kylie Jenner on Snapchat, but I don’t necessarily click through every single story of hers unless I’m extremely bored. Some fans take

it to a whole other level. There are Youtube screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-10-25-27-amvideos recounting her stories, making assumptions about what they may mean, and fan-girling over her latest hair/ makeup/ clothes/ etc. Kylie’s Snapchat stories often include either snippets of her relationships or previews for one of her new makeup collections.

Kylie gives viewers a look into her relationship with Tyga and his son (who’s baby mama is her brother’s wife…normal), her best friends, and the lifestyle she leads. She is infamous for posting videos, typically in a mirror or in the car, with her favorite songs blasting through the speaker. I won’t lie – I’ve definitely looked up a few of the better songs, but there’s also a “Kylie Jenner Radio” offered on her app as well as many Spotify playlists dedicated to the songs she plays.

Kylie Jenner has stated in an interview with her sister, Kim, that “I always like to give people what they want to see”. She goes on to say that “it’s not that I necessarily [want] to post all of my cars today. It’s that I know that people want to see that and live their life through ours”. If you’re interested in learning more about what Kylie has to say on her social media presence, click here.

Merchandising

Kylie Jenner has a hair extension line, a clothing line with sister Kendall featured at PacSun, and her new makeup line. Kylie has taken to social media in order to endorse all three of her lines, but most notably her makeup line. Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat stories often give sneak peaks at her newest makeup collection or hints at where the next pop-up Kylie store will be. Most stories feature her, again, blaring her favorite songs and swatching her newest palette onto her forearm. She shows on her story when exactly her products will be launching, so only fans who pay close attention seem to have the opportunity to purchase the products.

By doing so, Kylie has created an incredibly high demand for her mascreen-shot-2017-02-08-at-10-35-06-amkeup products. Most of the merchandise sells out within minutes. Kylie has also successfully added clothing, phone cases, and pretty much anything else she can put her logo on into her collection. My personal favorite is a t-shirt in which she cscreen-shot-2017-02-08-at-10-40-13-amapitalized on the many memes and gifs making fun of her for saying in an interview that 2016 would be a year for “like realizing stuff”. Overall, Kylie Jenner has utilized her social media in order to promote her products before they’re available and create an adrenaline rush for fans able to purchase her products before they sell out.

Mobile Application

Each of the Kardashian sisters has their own mobile application, and each has different features based on their lifestyle and day-to-day activity. I don’t personally have any of the applications, but the app store shows that each application costs $2.99 per month. So what exactly is the viewer paying for? It seems as if they’re paying for more – more makeup tutorials, more personal interviews, more connection to the celebrity. One of my friends has both Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner’s applications. When asking her why she pays for both applications, she stated “as a girl and a fan I’m interested in Kylie Jenner and the rest of the Kardashians for makeup, hair and fashion trends and inspiration.”

So what is the fascination with Kylie Jenner and other celebrities on social media?

Are we bored with our own lives? Probably. Is there a benefit or value-add here? Nope. Do we look for inspiration? Maybe, but most of us certainly can’t afford the same lifestyle as the celebrities we follow.

My guess is that fans want to feel some sort of genuine connection to celebrities. By getting more access and view into famous people’s thoughts, actions, and relationships, maybe we can feel closer to the person. I want to clarify two things here.

  1. Kylie Jenner and the Kardashian sisters are not the only celebrities that have dominated social media. Look at Chrissy Teigen on Twitter, or Lauren Oshie on Instagram. Lauren Oshie isn’t famous for anything other than being married to hockey player TJ Oshie, and yet she has 152,000+ Instagram followers.
  2. The obsession/fascination with celebrities is not new. People have always been crazed over celeb’s lives – but social media has fueled the obsession and given fans much more accessibility to the rich and famous.

I think that Kylie Jenner in particular has truly capitalized on social media and used it to enhance both her personal and makeup brand. As the youngest of the sisters, it could be that she grew up with social media as a more integral part of her life, or maybe she just simply is a social media mogul. I’m curious to see how she uses social media as she grows older, and whether social media can sustain her brand image in the long term.

10 comments

  1. Interesting post with a good timing – I just used Kylie Jenner and as an example of a successful brand built with and on social media. I definitely think it is the fact that she grew up with SM that helps her use it to her advantage. Your post made a great point that she knows what her audience wants to see, and when they want to see it, and when many brands struggle with timing and relevance, she clearly has an upper hand. She also pays close attention to SM trends in general, and knows how to stay relevant (but sometimes is accused of stealing other people’s ideas). I think this understanding of how SM works and how the audience on SM “works” and thinks is what helps her be so successful.

  2. When Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint and tied up, she stopped going on social media for months afterward, since there is some belief that the robbers found out where she was, and that she was alone, through her social media posts. This was a HUGE change because Kim had also built her brand on full time real time access to everything in her life – nothing was off limits. Except, until this happened. Not only was the amount of money she was losing by not posting sponsored ads insane, but what is even more interesting was that the sisters continued to go on with their social media routines – and Kylie was very much criticized for not being more careful about her locations and for not showing more sadness over what happened to her sister. I think that Kylie was upset and wished she could take a break after a traumatic incident like this however, if she had stopped posting, her brand could have been really hurt. So it was kind of a lose-lose for Kylie, and also just shows how social media in celebrities lives can put them at risk.

  3. Very unique post but it addresses the complete transformation of celebrities and social media. Social media has given fans the chance to get to know these famous people who before just seemed too far away to relate to. We get a glimpse into their outfits, food choices, music preferences, and daily adventures. With all this social media has even given celebrities the ability to portray what they want and show their fans what they want to show. Tabloids no longer run their lives because there is the ability to fight back. Regarding your point as to why… I don’t know why we are so obsessed with their Instagram pages or snap chats- maybe it just takes us out of our ordinary lives and moves us into their fantasy world.

  4. Nice post. I certainly don’t understand the popularity of the Kardashian clan, but one can’t doubt it. I’ll be interesting to see how this post does, because one of the perennially popular posts on this blog is one from a year or so back abotu being friends with Beiber and Arianna Grande.

  5. Interesting post – I recently watched a clip of Kim Kardashian on 60 Minutes attributing her career to social media; found it interesting that when she was asked about her talent she said it is a talent to make money from “getting people to like you for being you”. I found this post interesting because I wasn’t aware of how much the youngest Kardashian has done already in terms of merchandizing etc. – this world on social media ‘influencers’ confuses me.

  6. Nice job Lauren. Will all of the hype around the Kardashians be a trend that goes away soon or one that will be around for decades to come? I feel like buying apps based on a celebrity’s life is odd yet the apps have earned millions of dollars. I wonder what it is about the Kardashians that make them so polarizing.

  7. While I have never been a following of the Kardashian family on social media, I can’t deny my guilty pleasure of constantly watching them on television. It will be interesting to see how their brand does as more social media influencers become popular and being to replicate their branding model on social media platforms turned to merchandising. Will 2017 be their peak? It will be interesting to watch them try to maintain fame while competition increases.

  8. Something I find so ironic about celebrities posting about their clothing brand or sponsoring ads (like Kylie Jenner promoting her clothing line that is sold at PacSun) is that followers purchase these products trying to emulate the lifestyle of the celebrity. However, do they really think that Kylie Jenner’s first choice of couture would be from PacSun and not a higher end brand? If she didn’t own the line, slim chance she would actually be shopping in the store. Same goes for celebrities who endorse Pantene ProV shampoo. Nothing against the shampoo, but I find it hard to believe that high end celebrities pay several hundred dollars to have their hair done each month and then stop by CVS to pick up shampoo that is less than $4. Consumers have to know this deep down, but it goes to show people believe what they want to believe!

  9. Admittedly, I’ve recently been pretty fascinated by the whole Kylee Kardashian/Kardashian family obsession. Mostly because I can’t imagine how much money they’re raking in from just leveraging their personal brands online. I think social media mogul is a good way to put it. The following they’ve been able to amass is insane – I know that it started a while back with Kim, but now all the sudden they’re all A-list celebrities? It’s like everything that they do people can’t get enough of, and I guess I just don’t get why that is.

  10. Pretty amazing to me to learn that she’s the most viewed person on snapchat having never actually accomplished anything in her life. Whether you like the Kardashians or not, you have to admit they certainly do know how to brand themselves. I personally find it disappointing that social media has allowed these people to become so famous and relevant every day in thousands of people’s lives but I guess that must have to do with everyones deep desire to be famous like these people, so they enjoy seeing their everyday lives when you wouldn’t normally be able to see that.

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