5 Social Media Lessons to learn from “Gone Girl”

Gone Girl LessonsI recently finished reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, and there are some lessons about Social Media included many companies (and/or people) don’t really realize, or even worse: deny.

Spoiler warning: I talk about the last third of the book, so if you haven’t read it yet but plan to, be aware that there might be spoilers included.

1. Take control

Nick realizes pretty fast that word about him and his situation is all around in the media. He and his lawyer decide to become active on the Social Media.

Taking Control is all about not being controlled. It seems to be pretty obvious but many companies still decide rather not to have Social Media & Community Management and end up with: horrible Glassdoor reviews, angry customers speaking their mind in public product type related forums, on reddit, even making memes on 9gag.

When your company really is nothing more than a bunch of assholes farming money from customers you wont be able to get a better view on it via Social Media. However, usually this kind of company will not survive long enough to even worry about this.

Usually negative feedback comes from customers and employees (or even potential employees) that are not being heared. That is what you need a Social Media & a Community Management for. Take control, you’ll have influence on your customers and your employees opinions.

2. Provide good content

Nick makes the decision to give an interview, half drunk, talking about how much he loves Amy. This video gets a lot of viral attention and changes his reputation over night.

That this happens in real life is unlikely, but not impossible. The decision Nick is making is a smart one. He is drunk, so people will believe him – “in vino veritas”. So he has done the first step of providing good content. He’s authentic. He talks about something that is related to his “product” (proofing himself innocent of murdering Amy), so it’s relevant. Last but not least he mixes this up with some nice manly tears, adding an emotional part to his content.

Same goes for your content.

  • Picture of a cat – most likely authentic, but neither relevant nor emotional.
  • Picture of a cat cuddling one of your products – here we go its authentic and a little relevant.
  • Picture of a cat cuddling one of your products with the caption “Picture taken one hour before she passed away.” – yes you’ll get likes and shares (and if I see it some trollery, e.g. “so did she get poisoned by the product or was that not meant to be a warning?”). I’ll not discuss if that is good style (good content and good style are not necessarily associated) or not here.

Another thing about content is that it should have a goal (and I don’t mean “get 1mio likes”). Nicks goal is to make people believe he didn’t kill Amy. Yours could be “promote the new feature of our product” or “establish our product as part of our customers daily life.” If you want a really good example of a company doing it right, check the Oreo Facebook or Twitter.

3. Haters gonna hate

For some people it’s just irrelevant, what you’re going to do. No matter how good your content strategy, how epic your pictures, how informative your posts: these people are gonna hate everything you do.

This is the same with the TV lady that really hates Nick and tells all the women watching her show exactly this – no matter the status of the investigations or the current social media mood. He does with her what the only thing to be done: ignore her.

It would not help him nor his matter if he would speak up against her. Same goes for you: there are some people who will always hate what you do, no matter how good you are, how well thought the things you say.

I’m not speaking about people criticising you – good criticism, may it be positive or negative is good for you! – I’m speaking about those blind haters that will never ever find something good in whatever you do.

4. You can’t control everything

Some things will simply happen to you. While this does not make point 1 invalid, it’s simply the case that you can only take control if you know of something or at least have a guess that something could happen.

Haters for example can be ignored, but controlling them? Nope. They just pop out of their dark caves of hatred to spoil the community with their thoughts and try to hurt you.

What you can do is preparing your community in case the haters come – because if you have a strong community management the community will defend you. They’ll fight for you. Not because you have the greatest product/brand ever, but because you showed them that they can trust you and rely on you. (I’m not speaking about a personal you but rather a product/brand/company you).

Still if something that was not controlled by you happens, you need to act fast and try to get the situation under your control.

This is what Amy does when the friend she hides with starts to hold her captive. She takes control, kills him, pretends she was raped and returns.

(Wait! That does not mean that you should make false accusations when something happens you didn’t have a plan for. Neither should you kill someone).

5. You’re dependent on your community

Yes, you are awesome. Your employees are awesome. Your CEO is awesome. Still, without your community you are nothing. I’m not talking about your customers, everyone knows that it’s the customers that pay for your living. I’m talking about a vivid, strong community. That makes advertisement for you, without you even asking. That protects you in places your PR people didn’t even knew before Google Alerts spit them in their mailboxes cause your keywords were mentioned. That loves what you do.

Customers are those people who buy one or two times. Community, that are those people who participate, give feedback, create for you, test for you, in short: that add value to your company/brand/product/matter.

Without the community Nick would end up imprisoned, Amy would make a new start somewhere, manipulating all the folks around her and – the book would be boring as hell. What brings movement to the book is the community, is the social media impact that is shown. And that is by the way dealt with in a great way: As something that always happens, something that surrounds us and not something some weird nerds do in their free time.

Long story short: If you haven’t done so, read the book. And if you company does not have Social Media/Community Management: take control and make it happen.

Thanks for reading, sharing & rating!

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