Warning: Succeed at social media and Top End living might become claustrophobic

Darwin Festival DASSHOKU SHAKE!It’s Darwin Festival time and a perfect time to reflect on using social media as a marketing tool for your business or organisation in the Top End.

For me, the greatest lesson offered by the Festival comes from watching the performers, not just on stage, but when you see them in the street.

Take notice how they carry themselves or decorate themselves in ways that grab out attention or at least snap us out of auto-pilot mode to at least glimpse at them afresh.

What we witness at this time of year, is an influx of people who want to be anything but ordinary, anything but conventional, anything but boring.

The Tim Minchin protocol

On Sunday’s flight into Festival town, I watched a documentary about Tim Minchin called Rock n Roll Nerd.

It follows Tim in the year when he has his breakthrough from being talented performer playing to friends, to talented performer packing out theatres in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the biggest in the world where there are 2,000 performances on stage each day).

What changed? What was the spark?

Apart from the built up experience and improvement from getting lots of shows under his belt, Tim made some physical changes ahead of his first Melbourne Comedy Festival gig, so that he could project an image that was memorable rather than mundane.

He says:

I’m asking people to look at me all the time. And there’s no doubt, if you look around the industry, that people who are interesting looking, if not hot looking, do better. And I get that. I want to look at people who are aesthetically intriguing. So that’s why I’m trying to not be fat, going to the dentist and fixing my hair.

Yes, yes, yes, these can be written off as superficial tricks.

But I want to argue that they demonstrate a shift in his mindset from being someone comfortable with just doing things well to one of wanting to make his mark!

It really comes down to guts

When we plod along and finally start sharing valuable content with our communities (or market places) through digital channels like our blogs, social networks or social media channels, we will need to muster some courage.

As I mentioned in my October Business Month keynote in 2011, deriving benefit from social media marketing takes hard work and commitment.

However, on its own, that is not quite enough.

We need to stretch, we need to try new things, we need to risk failing because that is when we will start producing content that grabs attention and gets people talking about us.

Ultimately this will mean that among the successes, accolades and increased sales, we will also get criticised by some and even ridiculed.

And this is where the ‘warning’ bit comes in.

The more you increase your profile, the greater the chance that criticism and ridicule will happen in front of bigger audiences, which might make life in smaller, Top End communities feel a little claustrophobic.

This is why it all comes back to your objectives: why are you in business, why are you promoting it, what do you want to achieve?

If the objectives are worthwhile, the discomfort should be bearable.

The alternative is, well, more of the same, and I don’t recall that ever making people take notice.

PS If you are not familiar with Tim Minchin, here’s one of his songs displaying his ‘fancy hair’ and ‘perfect teeth’.

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