May 18

Cameo: The New Influencer Marketing


Influencer marketing has gotten an upgrade! Cameo is an innovative tool you should consider using in your education marketing strategy.

The history goes way back. Marketers have long used celebrities and stars to market products. 

But influencer marketing is a relatively young discipline in the digital marketing era.

And Cameo is about to change how we do it.

Influencer marketing is an effective strategy to reach your audience by connecting your education brand to celebrities, social leaders, entertainers, or thought leaders.

Traditional influencer marketing is often called sponsorships today. Marketers find a famous (or infamous) person to wear their branded merchandise, feature the product in their next production, or push the product in a commercial.

But social media, especially video content platforms like YouTube, has pushed the door wide-open for hundreds of new “celebrities” to be born.

Today, people as young as five years old are becoming stars with over 1 million subscribers to their YouTube channel.

The Internet and various video service platforms have enabled hundreds of previously unknown names to become famous in their own circles.

In other words, the Internet Age has democratized popularity.

Theoretically, everyone’s got a shot at their 15 minutes of fame — even those who sing so terribly it makes you cringe! (Amazingly, that’s how this YouTube celebrity gained over 10 million subscribers.)

So what does this mean for you besides the possibility of your very own reality show?

It means that most “celebrities” nowadays have a much smaller, niche audience than before.

Communities of fans are getting tighter as they center around smaller areas of interest and less well-known personalities.

When it comes to influencer marketing, this means that it is much cheaper to recruit the help of a celebrity to promote your private college, university, or school.

You don’t have to contract with an A-list celebrity for millions of dollars to promote your school, you can reach them by hiring a smaller celebrity to speak on your behalf.

So how can you pull this off?

Introducing Cameo

Ever since I first saw what this young Chicago-based company was doing, I felt it could make a big splash with prospective students.

Cameo allows you to hire celebrities to deliver a personalized message from your audience’s favorite celebrities.

These short (1 – 2 minute greetings) messages are basically shout outs recorded by the celebrities on their smartphone and sent to the recipient via Cameo’s email service.

Anything new could be a flash in the pan, but I think this idea is going to stick around.

While it was launched in 2017, this past year marks the Chicago-based company’s pop-culture arrival… In 2019, the company’s employee headcount went from 18 to 135, while participating celebs skyrocketed from 3,000 to more than 20,000. Cameo also expanded internationally to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and raised $50 million in Series B financing. — FastCompany

Of course, Cameo isn’t intended (right now) to be used as a commercial marketing tool.

But there is huge potential for high-touch marketing through this tool.

Imagine being 17 years old and getting a shout out from your favorite basketball player, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Isiah Thomas, saying “Happy Birthday!”

Or “Glad you made it through your SAT’s!” Or “Congrats on being accepted to [insert your school here]!”

Believe me. They won’t easily forget you or the school you represent.

An example: I purchased a Cameo with Richard Karn. I was getting ready to present at ABHE and asked him to do a shout out about my presentation. This is what was delivered:

Each cameo is meant to be a gift.

Instead of thinking of it like a commercial, think of it like sending your prospective student a greeting card.

This is important, as I don’t think Cameo will allow you to use their service as an overt advertisement.

More critically, you should never use it as a commercial… even if you could.

The power of Cameo is in its personal sincerity.

If you use it to send sincere well-wishes, congratulations, or encouragement from you personally (or from an enrollment officer) to a prospective student personally, this is a legitimate way to leverage the power of influencer marketing.


So far, I’m impressed with the range of prices available to send a Cameo message.

Every celebrity’s price is different.

Expect to shell out a couple hundred bucks for a short message from a popular blockbuster actor or star.

However, the majority of YouTube, TickTock, and Vine stars are around $15 to $50 — well worth the investment for your high-touch enrollment marketing strategy for your most interested prospective students. 

In browsing through the various Cameo messages on their site, you’ll see a lot of people are sending well-wishes to each other during the COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak.

This would be a nice way to show your prospects that you’re thinking about them in this difficult time.

Cautions when using Cameo

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when sending a Cameo message to your prospective students.

Keep it personal.

Send Cameos for things that matter to your prospective student, such as a birthday, an accomplishment, or even a setback.

Right now, you could almost certainly send messages of hope and encouragement during the coronavirus quarantine.

But when this is over, you could send Cameos any time a greeting card from you would be appropriate.

Keep it timely.

It can take up to five or seven days from the time you order the Cameo to when the recipient gets it in their email.

So be thinking ahead of the events going on in your prospective students’ lives and order a Cameo in time to arrive beforehand.

Keep it relevant.

Not every prospective student is a basketball fan, or a Harry Potter fan, or even a gamer.

Choose the celebrity that fits your prospective student.

Find ways to ask your prospective student what they’re into and see if there’s a good influencer match for them on Cameo.

Keep it on-brand.

This is critical.

There are all kinds of influencers and celebrities on Cameo, anyone from musicians to UFC fighters. 

Be careful to send Cameos from celebrities or influencers who represent things which match or support your education brand values.

While it would be hard to find Cameos from celebrities that embody everything you hold dear, it’s more important to avoid personalities that will destroy in a two-minute message the brand loyalty you’ve built so carefully.

I highly recommend that you do your homework on whatever celebrity you consider to use.

    • What is their history?
    • What are they famous for?
    • Have they said or done anything political, religious, or cultural that would contradict your brand?

After you’ve done your homework on your prospective student and the influencer you’ve chosen, Cameo could be your next great secret weapon.

So if you’d like to try this out, you can get $5 off your first Cameo with this link.

For more cutting-edge tools you can use for education marketing, be sure to contact us today!

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