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Recently I have become a huge Scandal fan (TV drama on ABC based on a real-life former White House press aide who runs a crisis management firm in Washington D.C.). I faithfully tweet with the legions of followers of @ScandalABC as we anticipate the start of the season 3. Olivia Pope and her staff have branded themselves #gladiators, fearless “fixers” of maddeningly complex high profile messes in Washington D.C. politics.
The metaphor of being a “fixer” resonates with me, a social media marketing strategist and practitioner at SAP (who also knows the life of friends I have in similar roles.) What’s the similarity being a Scandal “fixer” and a social media marketer? Do you really have to ask? Here goes….
- Big data: Huck is all about the data. He provides blazingly fast insights from hacking (um, mining) into databases to solve mysteries. Social media is a treasure-trove for marketers who ask the right questions. My SAP colleague wrote a blog on the topic: “Big Data Marketing is All About the Questions”
- You manage your identity – it’s is only as effective as you make it. The Scandal gladiator team has characters that have created new identities out of necessity (typically, the first identity got into too much trouble!) Relatedly, many social media marketers create personas online for their brands and themselves - and manage to do this in a way that blends their personal and professional presence in a way that is seamless and complimentary. Doing this successfully is a skill, but important as business-to-people marketing requires that you show up online as your authentic self to humanize your brand. It’s even got a Wikipedia entry: “Online identity management often involves participation in social media sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter … and other online communities and community websites…”
- Every day at the office brings an unexpected challenge: Olivia and team regularly get pulled into the crises of their clients – dealing with the unexpected is the norm for them. Social media strategists are asked to work on projects for which there is no precedent. From establishing new brand channels and the governance for them, to creating influencer programs, to creating and managing the change that becoming a social business entails is all part of the job. Here’s an infographic entitled Social Media Workflow that shows the varied parts of corporate social roles. The Contingency/ S*** Happens work is the 2nd most time consuming part of the job – 5 hours per week.
Oh yes, and also…I can only aspire to have Olivia Pope’s wardrobe one day – to add that to my list of similarities!!