Is fame the #1 predictor of Social Media success?


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Let me just say this up front: Charlie Sheen sucks at Social Media.

Yes, he passed the two million follower mark on Twitter in record time. Yes, he’s been a “trending topic” on the service for weeks. And yes, by some accounts, he’s earning a reported $10,000 per tweet.

You, with your tidy little community of a couple hundred might be thinking “I should suck so bad.”

The reason I hold Charlie up as a Social Media poser is his lack of honoring the first word of the term: social. For brands, Social Media is the one place you can actually hear from customers in real time and engage with them on a deeper level than you ever could in any off-line media. Social Media is your opportunity to amplify your strategy, add value to your customers’ experiences and drive customer loyalty and evangelism.

This, Charlie ain’t doing. Like many big names (be it personalities or brands) that amassed large followings before doing anything of note, Charlie’s doing little more than borrowing an audience. People are attracted by the name, and intrigued by what may follow. It’s up to the “followee” (Charlie in this case) to further engage with the audience. Some do this well: Social Media-savvy brands like Mountain Dew, Southwest Airlines or Best Buy are prime examples of this. But most don’t do much. They fail to take advantage of the “social” aspect of Social Media. (Do you think if you Direct Messaged Charlie that he’d actually respond?)

If you look at who has the largest followings on Social Media platforms, they’re all recognizable names. Celebrities, sports heroes, politicians. Even among brands, it’s fame that drives a following. Starbucks, Nike, Pepsi, The New York Times and Red Bull all gathered hundreds of thousands of followers before they ever did anything meaningful.

Does this mean that fame is the golden ticket to Social Media success? That the only way to be an A-list player in the Social Media space is to come into it with a big name? That if you don’t already have a “big name” that you’re destined to reside in the sparsely populated fringes of Social Media?

If the only metric you’re interested in is the number of “followers,” then that just may be the case. But by thinking of Social Media only in terms of “likes,” you, like Charlie, would be missing out on the benefits of Social Media.

The question worth asking is, regardless of the size of your audience, how are you engaging them? What are you doing to keep them “tuned in?” How are your efforts making their experiences better or improving your offerings? In Charlie’s case, he’s paid to push brand messages to his followers (hence the $10,000 per tweet). How long until his audience tires of this and moves on to the next shiny object?

Every Social Media practitioner, like every musician, wants to play to a packed house. But it’s far better to play to a coffee house crowd that gets you and is engaged with you than an auditorium of strangers sitting on their hands waiting for you to play “Proud Mary.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mickey Lonchar
Mickey Lonchar has spent the better part of two decades creating award-winning advertising with agencies up and down the West Coast, Mickey currently holds the position of creative director with Quisenberry Marketing & Design, a full-service advertising and interactive shop with offices in Spokane and Seattle, Wash.


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