While Tisdale says the main point of The Haute Mess is to have a place for her Twitter followers to congregate online, sites like these are appealing to other companies who want to reach her audiences as well. For example, the actress says she can share tidbits about her new projects, which can help get her fans engaged.
"The studios and networks are relying on the celebrities themselves and their connections to their audience to help promote (their content)," Tisdale explained. "If I'm starring in something, I'm supporting it 100 percent. I want my fans to support it as well."
Talent Resources CEO Michael Heller, whose company helps broker deals between celebrity clients and brands, said that having a digital presence helps actors build a platform where they can use their power to reach people in real time. Much more, because it's from their own personal accounts and websites, the content is seen as more authentic to fans—something studios are very interested in.
For example, Heller was a co-producer on "Arbitrage" in 2012. He said that social media followings played a role in who was cast for the movie. Heller said the practice is getting more common, which is why we're seeing celebrities like Nicki Minaj, who has 33.7 million followers on her Instagram, get more movie and TV roles. Heller added that Ashton Kutcher's casting on "Two and a Half Men" was strongly influenced by his number of online followers.
"Celebrities have become their own network, and are even more powerful than they were before," he said. "You used to look at People and In Touch magazine, but even on their digital platforms, they don't come close to the audience of some of the talent that we're working with. Some of these celebrities have over 20 million online followers listening to what they have to say, which is more powerful that some broadcasts and most of our networks."
Advertisers also are interested in tapping into that scalable and highly tuned-in audience. Talent Resources has worked with Kelly Clarkson and Citizen Watches, as well as Demi Lovato and teeth-whitening product Cocowhite.
IZEA, an online marketplace that connects social media influencers with brands, said digital media has opened up the door to smaller brands. CEO Ted Murphy explained that these "micro endorsements" can provide support to a specific cause without forcing a brand into a multiyear contract at much larger numbers. It's brokered deals for stars from the Kardashians to Neil Patrick Harris.
"We did the first paid celebrity tweet with Kim Kardashian in 2009," he said. "We paid her $10,000. That was unheard of, and now a $10,000 tweet is pretty commonplace. The six-figure deals are less commonplace, but they do exist."
But, it's not all about money. Echoing Heller, Murphy said that many celebrities still value remaining authentic. He said he even got a seven-figure offer for a specific celebrity to tweet about a product, but they turned it down because they didn't want to go against their principles.
Murphy said it's still about maintaining who they are and their personal connection with fans, which is also the most valuable to brands.
"Followers isn't the biggest metric; it's the level of engagement on the tweet," Murphy said. "That's the No. 1 thing we look for and the clients look for. We want to see how these messages spread and what type of relationship does this celebrity have with their followers."