Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Your brand and Social Media - Five Lessons from George Takei

Your Brand and Social Media

Five Lessons from George Takei

Anyone who has tried to establish a presence for themselves or their brand on social media knows how difficult it can be.  Facebook can prove to be even more difficult.  Garnering coveted “likes” is much harder than getting people to follow you on Twitter.

One unlikely man has mastered Facebook, teaching brands a few important lessons.  George Takei, best-known as Lieutenant Sulu on Star Trek has over three million “likes” on Facebook, a number that has grown every day since he first joined the conversation on March 23, 2011.  Contrast that with his costar William Shatner, who has just over 176,000 “likes”, and it is clear that Takei has a recipe for success.

Although George Takei’s brilliant social media strategy could probably fill a book, here are five lessons that every brand should take note of:

Make your content shareable.

George Takei’s posts make people laugh and brighten their days.  With content that ranges from hilarious to geeky to adorable, Takei’s Facebook fans look forward to his posts.  They want to make their friends laugh, so they share them.  His circle of influence grows and grows.

It is tempting to always post about yourself or your business, but even your best friends and family members don’t want to hear about you all the time.  Consider Takei’s recent post “Really Bad Analogies Written by High School Students”.  Did it talk about his acting roles, his books, his life, or anything else to do with him?  No.  Did it receive 89,711 shares?  Yes.  When was the last time your content was shared 89,711 times?  Probably never.  Did his circle of influence grow?  Absolutely.

Maybe funny memes and posts don’t reflect your brand, but share things that people care about, whether it is a news story or commenting on a trending topic (in a non-abrasive way, unless, of course, that is your brand).  Just because a post is not about you does not mean that it doesn’t help you.  When you do decide to place a well-timed post about yourself or your brand, you will have a captive audience.

I don’t always self-promote, but when I do, I make it reflect my brand.

A little self-promotion now and then isn’t a bad thing.  After all, that’s the whole reason you’re on social media in the first place.  Instead of a shameless plug or a boring post, try to make your promotional posts just as shareable as the rest of your content.

A great example is George Takei’s recent post about his appearance on CBS’s Hawaii Five-0.  Instead of posting “Tune in to CBS to see my role as as Chin Ho’s uncle on Hawaii Five-0”, he posted a Dos Equis man meme that read “I don’t always watch Hawaii Five-0, but when I do, it’s because George Takei is guest starring”.  Even when plugging his appearance, he stayed true to his brand and his audience, keeping his content funny and shareable.

An informal forum doesn’t give you an excuse to slack on grammar.

George Takei hyphenates single-idea adjectives, uses commas where they belong, and generally observes the rules of good grammar.  It is professional, and people notice.  Unless you are forced to shorten something for the sake of Twitter’s 140-character rule, using abbreviations or posting without proofreading reflects poorly on your brand.

Know your audience.

Although George Takei has a huge following now, he knows his core group of fans are Trekkies and people who are interested in his role in the gay rights movement.  Many of his posts take this into account.

Create consistent brand messaging.

Takei’s catchphrase “Oh myyy!” appears all over his Facebook page, from his captions on posts to his banner.  Now, he has a line of merchandise bearing the iconic catchphrase and has titled his new book the same.

His page is so popular that despite his recent feuds with Facebook over promoted posts, Mark Zuckerberg “liked” one of his posts this week, and he has many fans within Facebook itself.  When you have a winning brand, it is impossible for people not to “like” you.

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Written by: Brittany Walters-Bearden

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