There is something about Tina Fey.
She can literally say anything. She never seems to offend anyone–unless you love Sarah Palin.
Tina Fey is a writer, director, actress and author and she just published Bossypants, a somewhat factual auto-biography. It’s incredibly funny, engaging, smart and refreshing. Here is a blurb about being “the boss” from the book.
I’ve learned a lot over the past ten years about what it means to be the boss of people. In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way. In other cases, to get the best work out of people you maybe have to pretend you are not their boss and let them treat someone else like the boss, and then that person whispers to you behind a fake wall and you tell them what to tell the first person.
Contrary to what I believed as a little girl, being the boss almost never involves marching around waving your arms, and chanting, “I am the boss! I am the boss!”
What happens in the social digital world is magnified and forever burned into history.
If you are a brand, and your company sees customer management as a cost center (an ugly step child to be left in the basement), we see you.
If you are a brand, and you don’t care about your employees, we see you.
If you are a brand that cuts corners to make short term profits, we see you too.
If your CEO doesn’t care about engaging with his/her community, we see that three.
Here are 8 things brands can learn from Tina Fey when they set out on their social marketing journey.
1. Just own it. Don’t try to hide the obvious. If something bad happened to your brand, call it out. If you have food on your face, laugh at yourself. It feels better, and it feels better for us as well. Having humility and addressing vulnerability [even in a joking matter] neutralizes the energy in any room [chat room as well].
2. Listen, really listen. When you think of Liz Lemon [Tina Fey's character] you don’t think of that girl (or guy) in the room who seems completely unable to listen. Today’s best “PR” campaigns include more listening and less talking. Don’t be like Jenna Maroney [Jane Krakowski]. A hilarious and integral part of “30 Rock,” she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, and you don’t want her representing your brand to the world.
3. Engage. If someone were to say something to you in “real life,” and you were to not respond, that would generally be considered rude. So don’t do it online. Remember it’s really the same bag. While you get the feeling Liz Lemon on “30 Rock” somehow thinks her team is completely useless, she’s a fairly polite person. She does the best she can to manage the nonsensical behavior from her team. Even Jack Donaghy [Alec Baldwin]–Liz Lemon’s crazy boss.
4. If you have to think twice, don’t post it. Liz Lemon is a wordsmith, a comic and a bit of an eccentric artist. But she works for GE (and Kabletown) so she has to censor her words. If you wouldn’t tell your prospects, your customers, your employees, your resellers, your partners, your…mom, don’t post it. If you have to think twice, don’t do it. Self-censorship is powerful.
5. It’s not cool to be self-promotional. If you are cool, we will notice. It’s important to put your stuff out there for people to find, but if you keep re-tweeting only your own stuff….you start to look desperate. Liz Lemon is very subtle. She’s well-researched, she’s relevant, she’s even oddly beautiful in her own unassuming way. The quiet nerd is way hotter than the self-promotional actress (think Jenna Maroney). Let your fans rave about you. And work hard to give them something to rave about.
6. Wear a bra [kidding]. Don’t hand over your community management to the intern [watch video and it will make sense] who does not know your products, services and processes. If you hire an intern to do it–one that has not cut their teeth somewhere else–will likely make mistakes with your brand. We all were there once–and hopefully we had a great coach who told us to shape up or get out. In any event, if you hand off your messaging strategy and governance to an intern, or someone who does not take care with your campaign, I can guarantee you will not be satisfied with the results.
7. Put a face to your brand. Today people are tired of dealing with logos and personality-less and inhuman companies. I don’t have to remind you it’s all about being human. It’s all about being “global and local.” Don’t smack a big logo onto your twitter alias. Put a nice face there, someone who can say “hello,” “how,” “help” and “thank you.”
8. Scripts don’t work. Neither do rigid rules. In this blog post I even broke my own rules. See rule number 6 [bra] and then remember rule number 4 [censorship]. You need to provide structure, but just like with anything this journey will not always fit into the pristine box you want it to. You need to lose a little control. You will sleep better at night knowing you trained and empowered your people to make good decisions when you are not around. Relax, you will make mistakes. And you will be very grateful for them.