The Harry Potter series is one of the most widely read stories about a young person’s rite of passage. Covering Harry’s school years at Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s education has important lessons for social media marketers because, just as Harry Potter learns to interact with other people at Hogwarts, we must learn to use social media to engage with our target audience.
To give your social media engagement some Harry Potter style context, here are five quotes from JR Rowling’s seven part series.
- “There’s no need to call me ‘sir’, Professor.” Source: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This quote talks to having a human voice, which is at the heart of social media. Social media aims to break down the walls between people and enable them to interact on a more personal basis. On social media platforms everyone is a person and worthy of respect. This means you have a responsibility for your actions and what you say to others.
- “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” Source: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Social media is a great equalizer. It’s difficult to tell who someone is behind their avatar or even if they’re a real person. But in my opinion, what’s more important is how one acts and pays-it-forward on social media entities. With social media, you have the opportunity to reach out and build relationships with real people in real time. This is important as a human being as well as a marketer. Social media provides the means to jump in and lend a hand to someone who needs some information quickly or to engage over a longer period of time. For marketers, what’s difficult is managing diverse relationships longer term.
- “Yes, I think it is time that I took a greater hand in your education.” Source: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Unlike Harry Potter, most social media members need to learn how to engage and communicate on social media platforms by actively participating and becoming a part of the community. You can take part in the dialog on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter or you can write blog posts, snap photographs or create videos. What’s important on social media is the willingness to engage and help others finding their way.
- “’Yes…for homework,’ said Professor Flitwick, reemerging from under the table and pulling shards of glass out of the top of his hat, ‘practice.’” Source: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Like students, marketers need to take time and engage on social media to understand how it works and how to expand their brands onto these platforms. For some it can be difficult since social media requires being actively engaged and transparent. This requires being part of the social media community, and having a support team to help create great content.
- “I don’t go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me.” Source: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This quote resonates with marketers and executives who believe that social media is a PR crisis waiting to happen. The reality is if you’re open in your dealings with your prospects, customers and the public, when you engage on social media as well as your business dealings, you build a basis for mutual respect that helps you to deal with your customers even when there’s an issue. For marketers, it’s useful to understand what to do when social media goes bad.
Just like Harry Potter, there’s no magic way to learn everything you need to know on social media platforms. (But to help you out, here are some more Harry Potter lessons for social media.) You need to engage and learn from your experiences.
What other Harry Potter quotes related to education have lessons for social media? Please include your suggestions in the comments section.
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