Want social media success? Be a nut case.

Ian Lurie

“Your father’s quite the character”.

That’s what someone said to my son last year while he was getting his acting debut (he’s the boy you see swinging upside-down at the video’s start). She was referring to my habit of yanking his shoes off while he was on the swing set, and then trying to put them back on while analyzing whether the Death Star could beat the USS Enterprise (hell no).

It’s true. I can be a bit, er, eccentric. But everyone is, one way or another. Some people sing to themselves all the time. Others clean their houses compulsively. I torture my children with nerd trivia. I have a stamp on my desk that reads “Find them. AND KILL THEM.” There you have it.

Social media requires characters

Sanity is boring. In social media, sanity is also fatal.

If you want to stand out in social media, you can’t afford to be ‘low-key’ or ‘mainstream’. You can’t ‘have wide appeal’. You need to be a character. Just a teensy bit nuts. Loopy, in a friendly kind of way. Some people might even call it ‘passionate’.

I’m not talking about being fake, or pretending you’re someone you’re not. You don’t need to fake craziness. You need to tap into your own personal form of craziness. You have one. There’s no way you don’t. You do something that makes people avoid eye contact and back away slowly.

When you do that, you’re also tapping into whatever it is that makes you great at what you do.

I’m a sarcastic Jewish nerd with a yen for writing. Of course I went into marketing! Letting my inner Woody Allen out, just a little, makes writing this blog fun. It also attracts a certain kind of reader – the kind I like to talk to.

It’s about getting crazy in a good way. Sort of like me right now. I’m typing like a caffeinated Tasmanian Devil. It’s not the most focused thing I’ve ever written, but damn, it’s fun.

Go crazy

Too many companies approach social media like it’s going to explode. They’re tentative, nervous, and afraid to show any personality when that’s precisely what they need to do.

So, Ms./Mr. Fortune 500 CMO, give it a shot. Give us just a teensy taste of what makes your company a nut case. We’ll thank you for it.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Inspiring. Your article is being passed around in Montreal right now, and obviously fell into the right hands…
    We’re leading the Movember Digital Network campaign in Montreal, and, without a doubt, tapped into our inner child/clown/joker/all of the above on the social media front.
    Oh. Your rorschach… It’s missing a ‘stache.

  2. You just made me feel smart. I subscribed to this blog about six months ago, because it had become the search blog I most enjoyed. I learned in the first few weeks that I should just go ahead and write what I liked, because no one will read marketing drivel for long. And here you are, saying everything I intuited! I’m smart! And intuited is a real word!
    Death Star > Enterprise.

  3. The Death Star has a well decent tractor beam so once Jim and his crew get stuck in that it’s game over. Unless they use the Death Star’s gravitational pull to slingshot back in time and… ah never mind!

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