Ask kids who grew up in the 1980s what the greatest cartoon of all time was, and a healthy percentage of them would tell you it was “ThunderCats
From 1985 to 1989, the scions of the dead planet of Thundera, led by the fiery-haired Lion-O, lived on Third Earth, developing a new society.
The action sequences, out-of-this-world characters, and bright colors attracted a huge audience of kids to “ThunderCats.” Although it predated Facebook and Twitter by almost two decades, several of the lessons it taught those kids can be applied to the social media sphere.
1. Build your castle.
One of the first things the ThunderCats did when they landed on Third Earth was create their home—the “Cat’s Lair”—a robust building branded in their image, complete with a logo.
Before you start engaging online, make sure your profiles are complete. Fill out all the necessary bios and “about us” sections and add on-brand, properly sized images where appropriate. Include proper links and key message points, too.
2. Make it a team effort.
Lion-O is the clear leader of the ThunderCats, but he is not alone. He has the support of a full team of talented individuals, including Panthro, Tygra, Cheetara—and even youngsters WilyKit and WilyKat. They called in other ThunderCats from time to time, as special needs arose, too.
A community manager may be the face of a brand on social media, but there is likely a team of professionals behind that leader, including designers, programmers, strategists, photographers, videographers, copywriters, editors, and analysts. Social media for a brand, especially a large one, can’t be a one-person show. Even when there is only one full-time employee, he or she must utilize skills from specialists to ensure the highest-quality, most-successful presence.
3. Use enhanced data.
Lion-O couldn’t solve every problem by simply looking at what was in front of him. From time to time, he used the source of the ThunderCats’ power—the Eye of Thundera—to give him “sight beyond sight.” This powerful tool allowed him to see what was really happening farther away, giving him the most accurate information to use in making decisions.
Don’t just use the numbers that are staring you in the face. Although likes/fans/followers are good to have, your presence should measure another level down. There are hundreds of analytics tools that give you the information you are looking for. Find the ones that measure the data you need to know in order to fine-tune your content.
4. Use humor appropriately.
5. Find a mentor.
Jaga, the eldest of the ThunderCats, piloted the spaceship that brought his people to Third Earth. The ship was attacked by aliens, killing Jaga in the process. However, Jaga appears in dire times in spirit form to provide strategic guidance to Lion-O.
Social media may be a relatively recent trend, but the most savvy professionals have one or more mentors who help them navigate their careers, from project-related challenges to professional development. They may not be there with you every day, but they are never far away when you really need them.
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6. Avoid the trolls.
Not everyone appreciated the ThunderCats’ presence on Third Earth. The ancient mummy Mumm-Ra would awaken from his sarcophagus and transform into a supervillain in order to take down everyone’s favorite anthropomorphized felines. And that transformation scared the crud out of many a kid.
There will always be people that invest their free time in your brand. Some will be good, and some will be bad. A small percentage of the bad ones will be really
bad—proactively hating everything you do. Unless your company is truly evil, you need to learn how to overcome their negatively to tell the positive story of your brand.
Mike Schaffer is an
experienced online marketing strategist, publicist, blogger, and public
speaker. He is the vice president of digital corporate reputation at Edelman. Mike blogs at The Buzz, where a version of this story originally appeared.