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Kat French

If you read this blog, odds are good that you follow Jason on Twitter or Facebook. If that’s the case, you’re probably aware that Jason is currently recovering from surgery.  

Unless, of course, you were actually following our suggestion from last week that you spend your holiday break not checking social media sites.  (I wasn’t able to do it entirely either, natch.)  So for this week, at least, you’ll have to make do with David and me.  

As we’re approaching the new year, it’s a natural time to start making those big picture, long range plans to dominate the world of blogging, podcasting and other social media in 2009.  

In the French household, we traditionally have a New Year’s Eve movie party, where we hang out with friends, eat, drink, and watch our perennial favorite movies from over the years.  Every year, we plan to watch either the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars saga in all its unabridged, 12-hour glory.  Every year, we fail to do so.   So I thought I would combine my love of cheesy cult movies with some End of Year Planning for today’s post.

First Cult Movie Lesson:  Be Helpful and Transparent About Your Motivations.

princess-brideInigo Montoya: I donna suppose you could speed things up? 
Westley: If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do. 
Inigo Montoya: I could do that. I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you. 
Westley: That does put a damper on our relationship. 

- The Princess Bride

Social media runs on social capital.   Social capital is earned by giving.  Be helpful, be a resource, “find something useful to do.”  But let’s face it–we all have our own motivations for doing this–and that’s okay, as long as we’re open and honest about them.  Especially if your motivations are evolving as you move into 2009, keep communicating that evolution.  Some motives (making money among them) will probably never win you any popularity contests.   Be honest about them anyway.  

Second Cult Movie Lesson:  Remember the Fundamentals 

weird-scienceLisa: You had to be big shots didn’t you. You had to show off. When are you gonna learn that people will like you for who you are, not for what you can give them. Well, in your race for power and glory, you forgot one small detail. 
Wyatt: We forgot to hook up the doll. 
Lisa: You forgot to hook up the doll. 

- Weird Science

Social media practitioners are early adopters, always on the lookout for newer, faster, shinier tools.  We tend to tinker, always tweaking our blogs and profiles with new widgets or a new theme.  But in that constant tinkering, pimping, tweaking, and experimenting, it’s important to not lose sight of the basics.   Producing great content.  Maintaining consistent frequency.  Optimizing for search.  Building relationships.  Do this well, and you can get by without every bell and whistle.  Don’t do it well, and there’s not a widget on earth that will help you succeed.   

Third Cult Movie Lesson: Always Be on the Lookout for Allies

charadeReggie Lampert: I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else. 
Peter Joshua: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know. 

- Charade 

If you’re thinking about strategy for 2009, you need to be thinking about strategic relationship building.  Do you have a mentor? If not, finding one needs to be on your 2009 to-do list.   If you’re a “journeyman” practictioner, consider taking on a protege or two.   We often learn by teaching better than we do by studying others.   Either way, be judicious in your search–find someone who is motivated, but doesn’t stay constantly too overcommitted to make a good partner. 

Final Cult Movie Lesson:  Balance is Key. 

karate-kidDaniel: When do I learn how to punch? 
Miyagi: Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?

- The Karate Kid 

It’s easy to get consumed by the work, because honestly, this is fun work.  It’s easy to let things get out of balance.  As you work your social media strategy for 2009, remember to take time away from the keyboard to maintain a life that’s rich in relationships and real-world experiences.  The bonus is that those things can only improve your work.

So that’s my list of four valuable lessons to be learned from Hollywood while planning for 2009.   Got any to add?  Drop them in the comments.

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About Kat French

Kat French

Kat French is the Digital Operations Manager at CafePress. An exceptional writer both on the web and in other genres, Kat combines creativity with an agile, get-it-done attitude across a broad range of experience in community management, SEO/PPC, social media strategy and program management. She has worked with national brands like Maker's Mark, Daytona Beach Tourism, Optima Batteries and more.

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.tobias-fransson.com Tobias Fransson

    About this social media marketing, for some reason I cannot socialize on social networks. Probably due to the amount of people spamming opportunities to me and so on.

    I am however on there and have a profile to have a presence.

    What ways can you use social networks to market on but not have to daily go in there and talk
    with people?

    • KatFrench

      Tobias – Social networks are not primarily content channels. Facebook's descriptor is actually the most accurate, I think: “social utility.” They're made for people to connect and to be a place for brief, fun, high-volume, low-intensity interactions. Yes, they can be a huge timesuck, and yes, a lot of people are spamming on them. But if you're not using social networks to network, to a certain extent you're using a knife as a flathead screwdriver. However, you know how much time you have available, and you certainly can use socnets solely to extend your reach.

      To answer the question “how do you use socnets to market without daily visits and interactions?” I'd say make sure your Notes application on Facebook is set up to automatically publish your blog. If you do status updates somewhere, consider a tool that updates multiple statuses at once (when I was doing this, I liked Hellotxt.)

      And for what it's worth, I think the spammy, full-court-press marketing is worse on LinkedIn than it is on Facebook.

  • SarahStewart

    Thanks for the post-I really enjoyed it. For the first time in 10 years I find myself in the position of haivng to think about job hunting. I am a health professional and educator but am looking for a way of moving away from clinical practice & education, to working more as a project manager in e-learning & social media. I have been wracking my brain thinking about how to market myself, brand myself, etc etc but you've just reminded me of what I set out to do on my blog months ago-help people & share my expertise/time. That is what I do & that is what I should be 'selling' to future employers. Thanks a lot. Sarah

    • KatFrench

      Sarah – Thanks for your comment! A career change is always a big scary deal. Glad to be of help (see! it works!)

  • Pingback: 2009 Cult Movie Guide to Social Media Strategy | Social Media Explorer | thesocialmediasecrets

  • http://www.touchinghomemovie.com Jeromiah Z

    Thanks for the listing. I'd add that attitude is everything. Especially in hard times. This requires skill and effort – and it's well worth the time. 2009 can be a year to practice this – and it's ultimate giving – everyone around us benefits when we have an authentically positive attitude. Life is a challenge, if we don't see things for as they are, and just slightly better – there's not much of a compelling future.

    Happy New Years :)

    • KatFrench

      hmmm… Attitude is Everything, eh…

      I'm feeling like that requires a quote from Rocky Balboa.

      “But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”

  • http://www.ribeezie.com Ricardo Bueno

    Ah, “Princess Bride” and “The Karate Kid,” two great movies! I'd have to digg through my pile of dvd's to add any more… But really I think you're dead on with it all! Work each and every one of these points and execute on your social media strategy in 2009.

    I guess the one thing I would say is find opportunities to connect off-line. To turn on-line relationships, into off-line relationships. As you said, “step away from the keyboard.” After all, this social networking stuff doesn't just happen on-line…

    • KatFrench

      Good one! Turn Online Relationships into Offline Relationships

      Feels like You've Got Mail, to me:

      “Joe Fox: You're crazy about him…
      Kathleen Kelly: Yes. I am.
      Joe Fox: Then why don't you run off with him? What are you waiting for?
      Kathleen Kelly: I don't actually know him.
      Joe Fox: Really?
      Kathleen Kelly: We only know each other – oh, God, you're not going to believe this…
      Joe Fox: Let me guess. From the Internet.”

      Okay, maybe that's not the best example ever…

      • http://www.ribeezie.com Ricardo Bueno

        F. O. X. :-)

        I'm drawing a blank so this will work.

  • http://crumpleitup.com Greg Matthews

    I love your taste in movies, Kat. Here's my contribution:

    “What the hell's wrong with being stupid once in awhile? Does everything you do always have to be sensible? Haven't you ever thrown waterballoons off a roof? When you were a little kid didn't you ever sprinkle soap flakes on the living room floor 'cause you wanted to make it snow in July? Didn't you ever get really shitfaced and maybe make a complete fool of yourself and still have an excellent time? “
    – Walter “Gib” Gibson in The Sure Thing

    Lesson: Don't overthink it, and don't try to make it perfect. Get out there an try some things. Have fun with it. Learn something. THEN worry about your strategy.

    • KatFrench

      Great! And The Sure Thing is a vastly underappreciated piece of 80s cinema, in my opinion, as are most John Cusack movies.

  • http://crumpleitup.com Greg Matthews

    “So I say, 'Hey, Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.'”
    – Carl Spackler, Caddyshack

    The Moral: The payoff for social media may take longer, and adopt a different form, than you expect. Stay with it, and remember that it's about relationships . . . and adding value to those relationships.

    • KatFrench

      Bonus points for figuring out a relevant way to work a Caddyshack quote in here, Greg. :)

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    F. O. X. :-)

    I'm drawing a blank so this will work.