Four Social Media Lessons From Horror Movies October 31, 2012
By: Corey Lark
If I’m being honest, horror movies absolutely terrify me. My husband Michael, on the other hand, can’t get enough of them. So, from time to time when I feel like being an extra awesome wife, we’ll watch them. Believe it or not, as I think back on these nightmare-inducing movies, I realize there are social media lessons we can learn from them. And, with today being Halloween, it seems only fitting to share what I’ve learned about social media from horror movies.
1. Content can be repurposed.
For content to be successful, it doesn’t have to be new. Just ask horror movies like the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” This film first came out in 1974 and was remade in 2003. Apparently, the other two did so well that a third version is being released in January 2013. You may not want to post to your Facebook page about a guy with a chainsaw killing people, but you probably have lots of content at your fingertips that you can repurpose and you didn’t even realize. Things like blog posts, press releases, white papers, infographics, videos, photos, podcasts, etc. that you’ve already spent time creating can make excellent social media content. For example, pull some killer stats from a white paper and turn them into tweets, or post the infographic you created for your annual report to Facebook. While original, timely content is encouraged; all social media content doesn’t have to be new. What content do you have sitting around that you could repurpose?
2. If your first attempt isn’t successful, tweak it and try again.
Not everything you do on social media is going to be a homerun. Sometimes you will think you have a very clever idea that people will really respond to and you barely get one like, if anything. Well, this is where we can learn a thing or two from one of the most famous horror villains, Michael Myers from “Halloween.” In each “Halloween” film, Michael Myers is on a mission and nothing is going to stop him. Throughout the series of movies, he is shot, jailed, burned, decapitated, but he just keeps on coming back. Here’s what you can learn from Michael Myers – you might not hit social media gold every time you post, but that’s OK. Review the post, see if you can determine why it might not have worked – not the right time, not on brand, should you have geotargeted, should you have used a call to action or added a photo, etc. – then tweak your approach for next time and keep posting.
3. Humanize your brand – be authentic.
Who remembers “The Blair Witch Project?” The 1999 horror film documented three student filmmakers in their search for the local legend, the Blair Witch, through pieced-together footage. People really responded to this documentary-style movie and continue to, as films like “Paranormal Activity” hit it big at the box office. These films have something in common – they feel authentic. The home movie look makes people feel more connected, like they could be in those woods looking for the Blair Witch, or in the house as spirits are wreaking havoc. Brands and companies can capitalize on this feeling, as well. Social media is the perfect platform for you to humanize your brand – show personality, transparency and authenticity. If you’re able to do this successfully, people will feel more connected with your brand, and in turn, more inclined to trust you, engage with you and look to you to when they need your services or products.
4. Always have a strategy.
Have you ever noticed that when someone is being chased in a horror film, they always run up the stairs? I realize that when you’re being chased by a man with a knife, you’re probably not thinking 100 percent clearly, but they never seem to have a getaway plan in place. This is where we can learn our final lesson – always have a strategy. This includes when, where, why, how and what of your brand or company’s social media efforts. Sure, you can just post whenever and wherever, with no real rhyme or reason to it (and plenty of people do); but to find success in social media, you have to have real goals in place and a plan for how to actively achieve them. From the time of day, to your tone/voice, to the types of content, and what social networks you use, your social media strategy is crucial and is not a step you want to skip.
Hopefully, you found this post thought-provoking and/or educational and not frightening, as that was my goal. But, as long as we’re talking about horror films, I’d really love to know – what’s your favorite one of all time? Comment below or tweet me at @coreylark and let me know. Happy Halloween!