George Costanza, social media guru
Do you remember the “Seinfeld” episode in which George Costanza lands a job with the New York Yankees? Remember how he got the job? By doing the opposite.
George’s assumption was that his whole life had been a series of bad decisions, so by simply flipping his thinking and doing the opposite, he had to be right.
Real life’s not that easy. And in the marketing and PR world, life is certainly more complex. But let’s consider how George’s approach to life can relate to businesses and social media by exploring a few typical approaches to social strategies and what would happen if some of these companies did the opposite:
Initial approach: Let’s write a blog post about the cool new project our engineering department is putting together.
Do the opposite: Write a blog post about the problems this new project solves for your customers—from their perspective (not yours). In fact, try giving a specific customer (maybe one who interacts with you regularly on Twitter) an interview opportunity with one of the team members and ask the customer to write the blog post.
Initial approach: Let’s tweet this event that one of our partner organizations is facilitating.
Do the opposite: Although this might be valuable information to your customers/audience, you might go a different direction with this one (maybe not the opposite direction, but hang with me here). Live tweet the event from your perspective. And put some personality behind it. Get some pictures at the event. Share some “overheard” quips. By live tweeting the event, you’re giving those who don’t have a chance to attend from afar.
Initial approach: Let’s share the “viral video” our marketing department created on Facebook.
Do the opposite: Viral videos don’t exist. If it was truly “viral,” you’d have little reason to share it on your own Facebook page, because people would already be sharing it like crazy. Instead, look for discussion topics your Facebook community cares about and play to those. Don’t know what those are? Just ask them. Create content your customers value.
Initial approach: We should share this great research report with our Facebook community.
Do the Opposite: Typically, your Facebook community is made up of your biggest supporters. In many cases, you don’t have to “convert” them. Instead, generate content with that in mind (that they are your biggest fans). For example, one of my clients is a bike advocacy group. On our Facebook page, we don’t try to persuade these people to bike more; we assume they already are. Instead, we play to the pride factor—they are huge bike proponents and want to help us spread the message.
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this post originally appeared on Communications Conversations.