George Takei’s social media profiles are considered some of the most popular sites in the entire world. And while he may not have as many followers or post as often as other pages, he has exactly what every page and person wants: engagement. That’s why, after reading his book Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet (Life, the Internet and Everything Book 1), I thought I would share with you some of his greatest points about engaging as a brand on social media.
“Unlike more prolific tweeters, I tried to limit my tweets to one a day and to make them count.”
While most social media sites, business magazines, and resources of all kinds will tell you to post on Twitter 5-10 times every day, George Takei started out by posting no more than once per day on Twitter.
Today, @GeorgeTakei has well over 1.62 million followers and a near unheard of Klout score of 89. In over 5 years, he’s posted 9,495 tweets – far more than one tweet per day and more along the lines of the suggested tweeting patterns. However, he’s entirely right to point out that when getting started on social media, it is important to post less frequently and find your groove as a brand. Figure out what the foundation of your message is and how you want to convey those messages. Then, begin testing what does and doesn’t work for you as a brand and in engaging your followers.
Engaging in breaking news, Takei noticed, gained him a lot more traction. As he focused more on his own engagement with profiles, he then began to notice that if current topics were met with funny pop-culture references, the posts would go viral almost every time.
With that knowledge in mind, he utilized his social media presence as an opportunity to take a stand. Today, Takei is a master at representing himself—as both a brand and an individual—and getting involved with how the world operates, by sharing the whole spectrum of sentiments, LOL-moments, crises, or arguments.
“To say simply that content is king when it comes to social media therefore misses half the point.”
To Takei, delivering a message on social media is a lot like a comedian delivering the punch line to a joke. Posting on social media is all about initiating that engagement, captivating your audience, and delivering what it is they relate to most with impeccable timing. He says, “Timing, I’ve found, is the key to breaking six figures [in terms of Twitter impressions].”
As part of your posting strategy, you should consider time differences. If what you’re saying or how you choose to engage online needs to be relevant to everyone in the United States, then you need to be awake and posting by 6 a.m. in California to be able to cater to those in New York who are already getting their second cup of coffee for a 9 a.m. meeting.
When people ask me for my best social media advice, I tend to respond with my first rule: Never make assumptions. Takei seems to agree, as he makes the point that “Mid-week posts are some of [his] most viewed, while weekends are less busy.” Brands often tend to think that people are more likely to engage on the weekends when they have more time. But think about it—how much time do you take mid-day Saturday to scroll through your social media accounts?
I’m willing to bet you spend far less time on a Saturday social browse than you do on any given day in the office. Don’t worry, I won’t tell your manager. Simple social media analytics should have already clued your company in to understanding that weekday thumb through posts are a simple fact of life, regardless of what logic might suggest. And you should be prepared to take advantage of those views by timing your posts properly.
“… It’s crucial to understand audience aspirations, commonalities and sensitivities, and to deliver the fans what they want.”
Takei has somewhat of a reputation for being controversial in his tweets. Of that, he says, “When I turn over a rock and cause the Internet bugs to wiggle, it is to prevent intellectual laziness from taking hold.” While his posts may seem pointless in promoting himself as his own brand, the opposite is true. He represents himself well in staying true to the foundation of his social purpose: raising awareness.
As a brand—whether you’re a person representing yourself or a business representing the voice of your company—decide on that one major factor that you want all of your posts to represent. What is the point?
Never forget to step outside of yourself and into the shoes of your ideal audience. Think less about what it is you want from your followers and more about what it is you want for your followers. Sometimes, moving away from the premise of “I want more customers” and into the thought-pattern of “I want people to trust my brand” creates a much bigger impact than months of socially strategizing around the idea that your company is already important to those who follow you.
“To stay relevant in social media, you can’t go radio silent for weeks on vacation and expect the world to have not changed.”
Remember, proper social strategizing does have a place. It can ensure that you never drop the ball on your online presence. And that simple presence actually allows your followers to rely on you. Takei says, “To stay engaged with your fans, you have to post with some frequency.” As followers see your posts more frequently, they slowly but surely start moving toward actually engaging with your content.
In addition to consistently posting trendy and relevant topics, it’s also a good practice to directly reply to your followers. That kind of overarching responsiveness fosters a trust that helps your followers continue to tune in, day in and day out. If you want engagement, you yourself have to always be available to engage.
“People don’t like to be treated as mere clicks or numbers, or bluntly told what to do.”
As a company, we often speak about relevancy in content and how natural tone is the best way to portray your relevancy to your readers. In turn, search engines like Google will also start to see you and your content as more relevant than others. These simple search engine tactics that apply to your web content or blogging strategy also apply to your social media strategy.
In every post, be less worried about fitting in multiple hashtags and more concerned with appearing natural to your followers. The more natural you are, the more welcoming your posts seem to genuine feedback and engagement.
“Images have the plain advantage of being much more likely to be ‘shared’ than mere text posts.”
This is one of those areas where I encourage everyone to take their own habits into consideration. Pick up Twitter from your phone. Browse through Facebook on your desktop. How often do you find yourself scrolling up almost mindlessly, stopping only for an image that captures your attention, however briefly? As a brand, consider how your images are capturing your audience first. Then consider how the attached link or text supports that image in a way that encourages a click through or a response. Work to make your own posts like the ones that capture your attention.
In summary, Takei notes that, “Past interactivity, a preference for images, and frequency of posting—have operated to propel my page forward and will probably keep it vibrant and growing.”
Individuals and brands of all kinds can learn from these basic, tried and true tactics. Whether you’re an actor representing yourself, a photographer trying to grow your side job into a full-time job, a dental practice with diminishing return patients, or a large corporation with far more perks and products than the public eye is aware of, it all begins with how you choose to engage with the digital landscape.