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Eminem has joined an invite-only startup that's betting texting between celebs and fans will become a big business

  • The music artist Eminem has joined the text-marketing app Community, announcing to fans this week that they can text him at 313-666-7440.
  • The rapper appears to be using Community to promote a new line of merchandise he's releasing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his album "The Marshall Mathers LP."
  • Here's what you should know about how Community works and why the platform has taken off recently among celebrities and influencers alike.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.
On Monday, the music artist Eminem tweeted out a phone number to fans with the instructions "text me, ill hit you back."
The rapper's listed phone number, 313-666-7440, isn't his personal digits, even though its Detroit area code suggests it could be. The number was created by Community, an invite-only text-marketing startup that works with celebrities and influencers to offer what is essentially a text-message version of a standard email-marketing tool like Mailchimp.
Community gives each celebrity a unique phone number that they send out to their followers. Fans can sign up to receive texts from a public figure like Eminem by filling out an informational form, similar to how a brand or media company might ask customers to opt in to receiving promotional emails or newsletters. In the case of Eminem, the artist appears to be using his Community phone number to promote merchandise and new music he's releasing in celebration of the 20th anniversary of his album "The Marshall Mathers LP."
Setting up Community to boost sales of merch is one of several use cases celebrities and influencers have tested out on the app, which has drawn a mix of early users, including music artists like Paul McCartney, the Jonas Brothers, and Jennifer Lopez, and influencers like Jake Paul.
"I've only been promoting it a little bit, and I've got around 10,000 people on my text platform," Joshua Weissman, a food influencer who's been testing Community, told Business Insider last month. "I sent out a text message, and it went out to 9,900. It had a 98% open rate."

How celebrities and influencers are using Community so far

While Community can serve as a promotional tool for public figures to push direct-to-consumers sales, the app also allows its users to respond directly to texts from fans and send out things like personalized birthday messages. Weissman told Business Insider that he'd been leaning into the app's birthday-notification feature.
"If it's like 10 people's birthdays that day, I'll just take 30 minutes, and I'll send a video-selfie message of me saying happy birthday to that person," he said.
In addition to collecting data on a fan's date of birth, Community asks for a user's name, gender identity, city, and email address (which is optional) when they sign up. An opted-in user also agrees to the company's terms of use and privacy policy, which highlight some of the ways that they will end up interacting with a celebrity through the app.
Community says in its terms of use that it's possible not all texts will be sent directly by the influencer or celebrity who shared their phone number. "A message sent by a Customer may actually be sent on his/her behalf by a public relations or other social media representative," the company says.
The company also says in its terms that any texts that a user sends back to a public figure can be used by their team and Community for "developing, producing, and marketing products and/or services," with the ability to "publish in searchable format."
While Community is still a relative newcomer to the influencer-marketing world (the company launched last year), its direct-messaging format ties in well with a broader trend toward more direct-to-consumer interactions between celebrities and their followers.
The app's major selling point is that it offers celebrities and influencers access to a fan's cellphone number, which — unlike social-media accounts or even email addresses — people tend to hold on to for years.
Whether Eminem chooses to use the app outside of this initial 20th anniversary promotion is unknown.

Read a full breakdown of how the Community app works for influencers and its celebrity early adopters.

For more stories on how influencers are turning to startups and tech platforms to grow their businesses, check out these other Business Insider Prime posts:
  • Meet the startup helping YouTube creators earn millions in extra ad revenue by reposting their content on Facebook and Snapchat — including $68,000 from a single video: Posting videos across YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat can be a headache for creators. Startup Jellysmack is trying to streamline the process.
  • Marketers share what it's like to use TikTok's invite-only tool for finding the right influencers to hire for brand deals: TikTok is growing up as an influencer-marketing platform with the release of new audience-data tools for both creators and brands.
  • Inside YouTube's secretive Google Preferred program, which can boost a creator's income and signal they've 'made it': Business Insider spoke with creators and people familiar with how Google Preferred works to learn more about YouTube's top-tier ad product.
  • What influencers should know about Facebook's new app for video creators, Creator Studio: Facebook created a new mobile-app version of its publishing and analytics tool, Creator Studio, as it continues to make moves to compete with YouTube.
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