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How ‘Gatsby’ can help you succeed in social media

“The Great Gatsby” is coming out next week, and while you may remember it as a book you were forced to read in high school, there are some lessons that you can take from Jay Gatsby that will help you improve your social media status.

Give them what they want

Gatsby marketing
Gatsby is a fraud and a phony, but he sure understands his customers!

Gatsby climbs his way into high society by hosting elaborate parties for the idle rich. This is a guy who understands his target market and is providing value. This leads to some important questions that you should be asking yourself: a) who is your audience and b) what can you provide them of value.

Gatsby doesn’t ask rich people for anything. He builds affinity with them by providing value, and they flock to him.  You don’t attract customers with loud marketing messages, but by making them happy. Give them a reason to come back.  Don’t tell them what you want them to know about you, help them find out what they want to know and give it to them.

Run a gym?  Post workout tips. Make custom furniture? Post videos about how to care for wood in your home. Make your site the place to be.

Image is everything

Gatsby has carefully cultivated his image, transforming from small town nobody into the toast of Long Island. He understands that people are always watching and is very guarded about how he carries himself.

Don Draper, another legendary fake, understands the importance of image.
Don Draper, another legendary fake, understands the importance of image.

Of course, in our information age Gatsby’s fabricated past would be exposed almost immediately and so would lies you might tell about your company. However, you are in charge of what image your company has.

In the era of social media, ad spin can’t control what people think about a brand. That is why everyone in your company must think like Gatsby.  Everyone is in customer service, and everyone must make sure that they are putting their best foot forward when representing you.

As Bob Garfield noted in one of my previous posts, when you company has a gap between what you say and what you do, you end up with a credibility gap (see United Breaks Guitars).

Don’t be greedy

“The Great Gatsby” is really a condemnation of our materialistic society – the idea that the American Dream is really a dream of greed.  Don’t enter social media to just to get someone to click a link.  Don’t create content just to boost sales temporarily.

Do these things to be likeable.  Likeable businesses are successful businesses. Buzzfeed creates content that people want to share. That is how you need to think about business now.  It’s not “What can I get?” Rather, it’s “What can I contribute?”

Now, go do good work!

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