Are You Following the Godfather’s Social Media Advice?

Al Pachino as Michael Corleone“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” Who hasn’t heard the Godfather’s words? Originally spoken by Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II, this advice is important to heed in your social media interactions, especially if, like the Godfather, you represent an organization with interests that extend beyond your personal relationships. In which case, you need the Godfather’s strategic finesse that he used to handle his family and its dealings with the other Mafia families.

5 Ways Social Media Helps keep your friends close but your enemies closer

To help you integrate the Godfather’s advice into your social media engagement, here are five guiding principle that he followed.

  1. Honor your friends and customers. The Godfather valued his extended family and friends. In today’s social media world, the Godfather would have a large social media tribe like Ashton Kutchner.  He understood that you can’t have a business without customers. Therefore, build your following on one or more social media platforms. Invite your customers and the public to join you and, like the Godfather, show them respect.
  2. Hang out where your rivals and their customers are. For the Godfather this meant being part of the neighborhood and being accessible. On social media networks be present and actively participate. It’s important to be helpful and contribute to the greater community.
  3. Watch your competition closely. The Godfather kept tabs on what was happening with the other families as well as with the public and the police. This information was critical to enable him to guide his family. In social media terms, this means monitoring the environment. Watch what’s happening overall as well as what your competitors, both direct and indirect, are doing and how their customers and the public are reacting. Be aware of new developments such as Google Plus. Remember that a good idea is always worth stealing!
  4. Listen to the conversation. The Godfather always paid attention to what people said and didn’t say. He gathered input from a diverse group of family, friends and business partners. He had feelers out to determine what was going on. Translate the Godfather’s eavesdropping to today’s technology-powered corporate social media and it yields brand monitoring. Like the Godfather, you need to know when and where a problem may be brewing so you can respond strategically and decisively.
  5. Pay homage to the Godfather. Everyone acknowledged the Godfather’s power, brought him gifts, and kissed his ring. On social media platforms this translates to paying-it-forward. Recognize the experts in your field and engage with them by commenting and sharing their content. Given social media’s ability to level the playing field, this also means that you must recognize your customers and the public.

The Godfather would do very well in today’s social media ecosystem because he was a great listener. The Godfather was a great people person who excelled at managing the family and its business. He had a keen understanding of people, his family, friends and rivals. He used these strategic qualities to help assess the environment to make decisions just as you can do on social media platforms.

Are there any other Godfather traits that you’d add to this list? If so, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo: Paramount Pictures, The Coppola Company.

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