Despite having nearly 3m followers on Twitter within three weeks, Charlie Sheen is on the lookout for a social media intern.

With all the coverage in the media at the moment I want to come from a different angle: is Sheen already in the middle of a social media strategy? If so, what can we learn from it?

Sheen has gained more attention on the internet than ever before, using his fame and behaviour as a catalyst for his successful online presence. His already famous interview with Good Morning America made people question his state of mind. From a social media point of view, he’s executed his personal brand perfectly.

Within two weeks he has amassed nearly 3m followers on Twitter. Here’s some more statistics (as of 17th March):

  • He’s ranked 35th on Twitterholic (who gain ranking by number of followers). Every other profile above him is at least 18 months old.
  • He’s only made 111 tweets. That’s an FPT (followers per tweet) of around 26,000.
  • Has uploaded 8 photos to his Twitpic account, with a total of 7,641,030 combined views.

His internship within itself received a lot of attention. Over 82,000 people applied for the “Tiger Blood” social media position powered by internships.com, who have boasted over 1m unique visitors to the site.

There doesn’t seem to be any official number on who got into Round two (myself included). Whether or not he needs this intern is a good question. He seems to have it sorted already. His internship landing page even states that “Charlie Sheen has attained in setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to reach one million followers on Twitter'”.

Is Sheen already in the middle of his social media strategy?

Patricio Robles covered how ad.ly acquired his profile and how Twitter made an exception to verify his account within 24 hours. 

With a little pep talk on how to use hashtags and uploading pictures to twitpic.com, Sheen has been able to prove that he is indeed winning, online that is. His personal brand is more popular than the show he was fired from.

My theory on Sheen’s strategy:

Thinking more and more about the recent interviews I’ve watched and heard made me realise this could be one big strategy to increase his personal career. And what is his job? He’s an actor.

This may be true considering that people such as Joaquin Phoenix faked, for over a year, that he was retiring from acting to instead pursue a career in music – all whilst having a mental breakdown that was questioned after his infamous interview with David Letterman.

    If this is all true and Sheen is in fact acting, he’s utilising the internet to it’s full potential and ‘hiring’ a social media intern has been the perfect way to enhance his profile within the social networking community.

    What is clear is that what Team Sheen are doing right now is a case study of what to do if you’re at a certain level of celebrity, it doesn’t always matter what is said or done. Whether the publicity of the role is a strategy within itself is for us to evaluate once the intern’s time is complete.

    What can we learn from Sheen’s strategy?

    Taking my opinion that Sheen is acting and is already in the middle of a successful social media strategy, what can we learn from this?

    These lessons may not be useful in all circumstances, but have certainly worked for Sheen:

    1. Do something big just before you execute your ‘real’ strategy. Do something worthy of online chatter. Once that’s done, you can have a head start once you finally start your social activity.
    2. Be vocal/passionate. Not happy about something? Verbalise it in a way that may cause some shock value but still keep people interested in what you have to say.
    3. Use imagery. Twitpic, yfrog and other services can let you easily show images to the masses. Even if it’s not that interesting sometimes people will already be interested in what you have to share.
    4. Think long-term. The internship is a wonderful example of this. It has its own hashtag (#TigerBloodIntern) and will keep people tweeting for the next few months.
    5. Create a catchphrase that anyone can use. This is a hard one. Whether Sheen fell on this by accident or planned it beforehand, “winning” is a phrase anyone can use, and now the very generic #winning hashtag will be connected to him from now on.

    With 3m followers on Twitter and nearly 1m ‘fans’ on his Facebook Page, Sheen has just, conveniently, opened up an online shop at charliesheen.com and announced he will be touring with tickets already available.

    His social media ‘strategy’ is already going very well…