Harry Potter Works Social Media Marketing Magic

Harry Potter’s 12 Social Media Lessons for Marketers

Since June 1997, Harry Potter has held us under his spell as he’s battled the evil Lord Voldemort. Similarly, marketers must battle muggles in the form of business executives who believe that social media has taken marketing to the dark side. These business-minded muggles can’t comprehend that consumers don’t trust their advertising. Unlike Harry Potter, the public doesn’t need to visit Hogwarts since they’ve been given wizardly powers in the form of various social media platforms.

12 Ways to Use Harry Potter’s Magic for Social Media

For marketers who still need to build the case for social media marketing in their muggle-dominated organizations, never fear, Harry Potter has twelve lessons to help you.

  • It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

    From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore

    While social media requires on-going engagement, it’s doesn’t mean that companies and individual participants use social media to the exclusion of real life interactions. (If so, you may be suffering from social media burnout.)

  • The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution.

    From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    Social media requires businesses be transparent in how they interact on various platform but this doesn’t translate to divulging confidential and competitive information about your organization. Companies must establish social media guidelines to outline how they want their employees, customers and the public to engage in a mutually respectful manner that’s in line with their brand.

  • It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

    From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    Social media platforms enable businesses and individuals to engage openly to better understand each other and find improved ways of interacting.

  • It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

    From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    Through the use of social media, your organization can provide proof to prospects, customers and the public who you truly are in a way that’s consistent with your brand and that engages them.

  • The best of us must sometimes eat our words.

    From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    One of the challenges with always-on, 24/7 platforms like social media is the fact that we sometimes act via our fingertips without fully processing the information or remembering that there are real people at the other end of our communications who may be hurt by our postings. When you’re wrong or inadvertently hurt someone, be quick to realize it and publically admit your mistake. It makes you more real and understanding as an individual or a business.

  • The consequences of our actions are so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.

    From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    Since social media provides the public with platforms to express themselves, it can be difficult for businesses to know which comments to respond to. Therefore, it’s essential to monitor the social media landscape for mentions of your name, brands and products to determine which require a response. Bear in mind that only 2% of mentions need a company action. The challenge is finding those 2%.

  • If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

    From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Spoken by Sirius Black.

    Remember that it’s critical to treat everyone on social media with respect, not just influentials. It’s good business. Further, you never know who knows who and what their connection are.

  • Curiosity is not a sin… But we should exercise caution with our curiosity… yes, indeed.

    From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    Given the changing dynamics and technology of social media platforms, it’s important to continually test new alternatives. But be careful before moving your entire social media focus to one option. Understand that this market will continue to evolve and change. Therefore it’s critical to keep your eye on new opportunities.

  • It is my belief… that the truth is generally preferable to lies.

    From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    From a marketing perspective, social media has some of Harry Potter’s wizardly magic because it requires that companies and the public tell the truth. Through the use of social media platforms like ratings and reviews, it’s the value of the law of large numbers that enables consumers to discern how products really work and their value.

  • Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

    From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    While social media doesn’t make marketing easier, it enables companies to engage with prospects and customers directly in real time to surface issues and answer questions. For some firms, this can be difficult because these may be areas or product attributes you’d prefer not to discuss. The reality is that, without this open interaction, you’ll have trouble closing the sale and keeping customers longer term.

  • You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.

    From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Spoken by Ginny Weasley.

    Social media enables your organization to achieve it’s goals by engaging with customers and the public directly. What’s most important is that you start testing one form of social media to get your organization involved and to make the case for further social media involvement.

  • Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.

    From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Spoken by Albus Dumbledore.

    Through social media, all of us, both individuals and organizations are responsible to stand up for what’s right. Whether it’s using social media to help those we know or to help strangers in need. Social media carries with it a social responsibility.

Regardless of how much time we’ve spent on social media platforms, Harry Potter has lessons for all marketers that enable us to work our wizardry to achieve business goals. Sometimes we have to remember that muggles may not always understand our perspective and that extra care is needed.

Do you have any other Harry Potter lessons to add to this list? If so, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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  • http://www.ericgoldstein.net Eric Goldstein

    Great article Heidi although it’s a little frightening that you had all these Harry Potter quotes in your head to use.. Please tell me you googled a site that had “Top Harry Potter Quotes”..

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Eric–I wish that I had known about the Google site. But I’m not surprised. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • John Seymore

    And if it could be proven to you that Rowling never invented a single word in any of these famous sayings… what then?