Many of you have seen George Takei in the classic TV enterprise Star Trek (no pun intended). Many of you may have also heard of his burgeoning social media community. With 4.2 million fans on Facebook, Takei is considered one of the most influential social media users in the world.
Last week, however, the social media world was flooded with news regarding the predicament with Takei’s Facebook page’s ghostwriter, Polito. Apparently, many of Takei’s fans were stricken after realizing that the former Captain Sulu himself was not the man behind the seemingly unending stream of quirky jokes.
That day was actually the first time that I had heard of Takei’s Facebook page (I know). After discovering his page, I could not stop scrolling down for more and more of his extremely quirky posts. After a good hour of being immersed his social media page, I had to ask myself, “How can I make my content on social media as engaging and as viral as George Takei’s?”
So with that, here are 5 social media lessons I learned from George Takei (or perhaps Polito):
1. Have a “voice”
George Takei was blessed with the opportunity to showcase his “voice” through television. Many brands do not have these kinds of opportunities, but it is important to convey this voice as best as you can. Take this post below, for instance. The picture by itself is funny. However, when you read the caption in George Takei’s voice, it becomes hilarious.
2. Don’t be afraid to use memes
Internet memes are the “it” concept in today’s social media world. Memes are often found on sites like 9gag, 4chan, and Reddit. People of all ages are now are spending hours a week looking at them (can you blame them?).
Many people are afraid to use memes, as they are often provocative and can be difficult to “get.” Although there is truth here, we must also remember that there are tens of thousands of memes out there. Many of them are rendered unusable due to their vulgarity, but there are tons more that are funny and could be very applicable to your brand. Start browsing through Internet meme libraries such as KnowYourMeme and begin familiarizing yourselves with this Internet sensation.
Advice for brands: Memes are an effectively way to garner engagement, as they are funny in a very unexpected way. Memes also come in so many varieties. Spend a few minutes during your break to browse through these memes (trust me they’re worth it) and share the ones that are applicable to your brand on social media. You can even create your own captions for popular memes in MemeGenerator, which allows you to create a custom one while still capitalizing on the popularity of a viral meme.
3. Stay inspired
Social media is meant to be fun, both for the community manager and the audience. When you are posting for a brand, there are often restrictions regarding what you can and cannot post. These restrictions (at least for me) often take away the true spirit of social media. However, we must constantly remind ourselves of this spirit of creativity and not be afraid to post something different once in a while.
For me, spending an hour looking at pages like George Takei’s inspires my own content strategy. It rejuvenated much of the creativity and fun I have in being a community manager.
Advice for Brands: As community managers, we do not want to be stuck in our own social media bubble. Once in a while, we need to get some inspiration from others in order to be inspired once again. Here are a few great social media pages to rejuvenate your social media spirit:
4. Beware of ghostwriting
Ghostwriting is extremely commonplace now. From songs, books, to social media, there is a good chance that the real person behind the work is not the same person as whose name is actually ON the work.
While it is everywhere, is ghostwriting unethical? This is where the issue gets rather murky. Although there is a sense of inauthenticity about it, sometimes we cannot help but conclude that it is the only way to go, especially for celebrities. For example, we cannot expect George Takei to direct and act in movies while at the same time managing a community of 4.2 million fans.
Advice for Brands: When deciding whether to use a ghostwriter, you must have a good reason to justify this. Put yourself in the audience’s perspective and ask yourself ,“How offended would I be if I found out?” In the case for George Takei, he has managed to quiet the storm by saying, “What is important is the reliability of my posts being there to greet my fans with a smile or a giggle every morning. That’s how we keep on growing.”
5. Don’t be afraid of mistakes
Mistakes on social media happen all the time. How can they not? We are interacting with hundreds of people everyday. With that many interactions, a mistake is bound to happen sometime or another. As a social media community manager, we must embrace the tightwire act that is social media. Rather than feeling panicked whenever something wrong happens, react to the problem, solve it, and move on.
Advice for brands: Brands must recognize that mistakes are a part of social media. Upon recognizing one, the first thing you must do is apologize (just like Polito did) and quickly address the issue with all the affected audience. While this is all going on, it is also important that you do not “freeze” your social media efforts. Keep the momentum positive and maneuver past that hurdle without blemishes.
As social media community managers, what we want to ultimately achieve are lively conversations and engagement with the community. As we have more and more of these conversations, we begin to have authentic relationships with our audience. This, in turn, is what leads to your loyal brand advocates.
These five tips can help you to achieve this goal.