It was October 3rd when I began writing this post. Eleven years since ‘Mean Girls’, written by Tina Fey, was first released, and the film’s cult-like status endures with an endless fan-made supply of GIFS and memes.
A pop-culture phenomenon, the eminently quotable movie is one of the sharpest high school satires ever whose relevance has even crossed over into the world of business and marketing.
For companies and brands that have been around for a while, jumping into social media can feel exactly like attending public school for the first time. Like figuring out which clique sits at which table during lunch, learning about all of the different platforms and where you fit in can be incredibly overwhelming.
High school can be rough; trying to figure out who you are while navigating classes, trying to make new friends, and meet your parents’ and teachers’ expectations.
Businesses face the same challenges when developing their own marketing and branding – establishing your brand voice, acquiring new customers, and meeting the expectations of yourself or company execs. And yes, you may even encounter your own set of mean girls in the form of competition or zero customer engagement online.
Here are some quotes from the film to help your company or brand navigate the waters of social media marketing along with advice on how you can avoid ending up in a ‘Burn Book’ of your own.
“I'm not like a ‘regular mom,’ I'm a cool mom.”
As social media matures from online, digital marketing to just marketing, some businesses that have been around for a while are like evil queen bee Regina George’s mom – trying way too hard not to be a ‘regular mom’, but a ‘cool mom’ instead who injects herself with Botox and tries to dress like one of her teenage daughter’s friends.
Nothing gets a company or brand shunned and ignored faster on social media than trying to sell on a platform without fully understanding the mindset of its users. Wearing ‘pink on Wednesdays’ isn’t enough for customers to let you sit with them. You have to earn their trust and their business by understanding the type of content they desire and consume.
Developing Buyer Personas is the most effective way to create a content strategy that helps your company or brand sit with its ideal customer. It’s unlikely that you would find Goth kids eating lunch with the Preps. So make sure your company or brand invests its social media efforts into targeting those most likely to buy from them.
“Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. It’s never going to happen.”
Yes. Please, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. And by that, I’m referring to the social media and marketing equivalent of making things go ‘viral.’ Companies, B2B companies especially, are always asking marketing agencies to make content to go viral for them and it’s just not possible.
There is no magic formula or an exact science to making things go viral on social media. Hiring a celebrity or using an influencer to push your brand isn’t even a guarantee of success. Even if you could make ‘fetch’ happen, who’s to say that it would translate into actual revenue and customers for your brand?
Even though your brand should be trying to push the envelope and set your own trends, it’s primary focus should be on solving problems for your customers in unique and engaging ways.
“The limit does not exist”
We’ve seen the central plot of the film before – an outcast abandons unpopular-but-loyal friends for the shallow popular students and undergoes a complete makeover of their appearance and personality.
We know how disastrous the results can be when the protagonist fails to remain authentic and true to who they really are. We’ve seen the PR nightmares that have occurred when companies or brands failed to use their true voice and remain authentic in the content they produced and published.
Don’t use social media to project an image of your company or brand that isn’t true. No amount of marketing can overcome a bad product or poor customer service. Social media marketing should be used to amplify your brand’s message. If your company stays true to itself, then the limit for success truly does not exist.
Spoiler alert: In real life a bus won't take down your competition but you can take to social media with an authentic, professional approach and voice that grabs the attention of your customers – who you already know are the cool kids.