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Secrets Of A Celebrity Twitter Coach

Social media strategist Cassie Petrey explains how the famous-person Twitter sausage gets made.

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Michael Buckner / Getty Images

If celebrity social media czar Cassie Petrey had her way, each of her clients would walk down the red carpet with a Twitter coach in tow.

For Petrey, whose client roster includes Britney Spears, Will.I.Am, Ellie Goulding, Carly Rae Jepsen, and One Republic, among others, awards season is prime time for her clients to bolster their following.

The L.A.-based consultant started working in social media in 2007, when MySpace (the old MySpace) was the unchallenged juggernaut in the space.

These days a huge part of her job consists of keeping tabs on what her clients are up to on Twitter. "I get everyone's updates to my phone just 'cause I want to see what people are talking about all the time, and make sure that they haven't been hacked or that they said something they shouldn't have, make sure they didn't tag someone wrong," says Petrey, whose last big project was managing the social media campaign for Fox's X Factor. "I usually wake up to about 50 [text messages] every morning from Twitter."

One big part of her job is looking for opportunities for her clients to leverage their #personal #brand. Awards shows, like the the Grammys and Oscars, Petrey says, provide one of the best opportunities.

"Awards shows and Twitter just go together — Twitter enhances award shows for me," says Petrey. "It's so much funnier and makes it so much more exciting."

Celebrities, though, can't always be trusted to walk the red carpet and tweet at the same time, which is why, if at all possible, Petrey likes to have her clients bring a social media aide along to awards shows.

"It can get really busy if you're doing interviews on the red carpet, and it's just nice to have someone with you who can say, hey, you should take a picture with your other-famous-person friend right now. Here you go, now you should tweet it," Petrey explains. "It's good to have that person on site with somebody to sort of connect them to the conversation that's going on because those events are so hectic."

Should the celebrity decline to bring a tweeting assistant to the Oscars, Petrey will try to do the job remotely. "I'll essentially watch the conversation for them and text a manager or someone with them telling them what people are saying online, suggest people that are there that they should take a picture with, or things they should take pictures of — that kind of thing."

What if the celebrity wasn't invited to the big show? Petrey says she encourages her clients to play along from home. "I encourage them to block off that time and be a part of the conversation because it's a good way to relate to your audience; it's not necessarily just you shoving your music or product or whatever you're working on, on them."

Note: A previous version of this story used the term "personal tweeter" which suggested Petrey composed her clients tweets. That has been changed to "social media aide" to more precisely reflect her duties.