Kevin Hart is a comedian, but this article has nothing to do about his comedy form and function (although, I think he’s hilarious). While Mr. Hart is doing plenty right when it comes to whatever he’s doing at the time, he happens to have excellent strategies when it comes to marketing a small business.
1. He Works HARD
Kevin Hart’s recent comedy – Ride Along – cleared it’s opening weekend with about thirty five million dollars in sales, which has been described by industry insiders as a “surprise success.” Currently, it has made over $100 million, also termed a “surprise.” Basically everything he does right now is a “surprise.”
But the success of this and other films or works by Kevin Hart is a “surprise” to everybody but him. Why? He works HARD. In a recent Entertainment Weekly article, Hart noted that he’s been working in show business for 17 years; like many others, I first heard of him when Hart hosted Saturday Night Live. This long-haul approach has worked well for him, because he has and continues to focus his energy on what works for him as a small business, not just an entertainer with an image.
The issue with small business owners (like myself: an author and comedian with a day job) is that we do work hard on our actual daily work. It’s clear that Kevin Hart does as well – really good comedy takes a lot of time and work to produce and refine. But his example needs to help focus our attention to the fact that as a small business, we essentially have two jobs: our daily actual small business, and building ourselves in that business as a brand.
2. He’s in the Marketing Business
The description on Kevin Hart’s Facebook page is “Corporate Office,” which is just one signal among many that he considers himself a brand. This is an important distinction, as many entertainers seem to think of themselves as “the talent” with “an image” to uphold.
Hart, however, understands that he is his own small business. Ultimately, he is not in show business, he’s in marketing his small business, “Kevin Hart, Entertainer.” And like a small business should have, it’s clear that he has an integrated marketing plan for his small business that is built for long-term success. Available on Kevin Hart’s website is essential information for his niche, such as how to contact his “people,” how to book him for a venue, merchandise for sale, relevant media, and links to the different parts of his business empire.
The only problem I have with his site is that the social media sites are not linked from the home page and there’s no updated blog – for me, these two elements are essential for online marketing for small businesses. However, he’s popular enough that he probably doesn’t need to reference the social media sites or keep a blog. Plus, the dude is quite busy touring.
3. His Social Marketing Has Tentacles
Kevin Hart’s social media marketing strategy reminds me of the empire he’s building, based on what I found on Hartbeat Productions, Hart’s production company – what I call the main body of the online marketing octopus. The social media channels that Hart incorporates include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Webstagram, and Vine – I haven’t even checked out Google+ yet.
The simple search I completed on Hart’s social media marketing shows that the channels stretch out and work together, overlapping across markets of current and prospective fans. The content may also overlap, but not necessarily the messages that accompany each post, which is a good business for small business marketers using these channels. Skip the automation and personalize your social media entries.
4. Strategic Cross-Promotion
When it comes to promoting whatever he happens to be doing, Kevin Hart does not waste opportunities. With a full touring schedule for his stand-up shows, he has prospective and current fans who are filling the seats. One of the ways he has taken advantage of this is to show videos and previews of movies during a show.
This is a great way to think about strategy when approaching an integrated marketing plan for your small business. What opportunities are you missing? Do you use email marketing, and do you have a system in place to capture the email addresses of those who visit your business, both online and brick-and-mortar? Are you blogging regularly? What about posting those articles on social media sites or emailing them to your list?
If you are running a small business, there are times when you have prospective and current customers who are, in a sense, “filling the seats.” Evaluate your larger marketing vision and pinpoint where you might be missing opportunities when it comes to reaching those people.
5. Extensive Use of Video
It’s easy to see during short visits to Kevin Hart’s Facebook and Twitter pages that he liberally uses video, often an underused medium for small business marketing. One of my goals at Local Fresh Marketing is to figure out the easiest ways for myself and our clients to generate video content – without sacrificing quality – in order to reach more customers. Leveraging that medium can reach a whole segment of people that we are missing, and fits well into a larger, integrated marketing plan.
6. Interaction with Fans
Just as he isn’t “the talent” with “an image,” Kevin Hart keeps himself accessible to his fans. His Facebook biography is “I Love All My Fans,” and on his Twitter page, Hart liberally retweets fans who tag him, which is not the norm. On both accounts, his fans not only interact with him, they quip back and forth with each other. Encouraging this kind of community is the new word of mouth, and clearly keeps fans loyally following.