“A thousand years or more ago, When I was newly sewn, There lived four wizards of renown, Whose names are still well known: Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor, Fair Ravenclaw, from glen, Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad, Shrewd Slytherin, from fen. They shared a wish, a hope, a dream, They hatched a daring plan To educate young sorcerers”
- The Sorting Hat, - Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Last week, in celebration of Harry Potter’s birthday, we transformed Widefoc.us World Headquarters into a magical office, not unlike Hogwarts itself. We enjoyed social media-inspired spell books, a game of quidditch, and discussed the masterful storytelling of the series. The Harry Potter books have inspired ten movies, a broadway play, thousands of student performances, and millions of fanfictions. But the values and lessons of these books transcend print media and even influence our strategy for social media platforms. We asked four WideFoc.us team members to discuss social media strategy from the point of view of their Harry Potter houses. Fear not Muggles, this guide of magical tips is for anyone.
Gryffindor (Sarah, Community Manager)
In the books, Gryffindor is the most visible Hogwarts house. Home to Harry Potter himself, he saw first-hand the courage of the crimson and gold witches and wizards. Gryffindors were acting like social media influencers before Instagram was invented. They are brave, daring, chivalrous and bring nerve to their writing. When looking for new members for your marketing team, look no further than the lions of Hogwarts.
Social media doesn’t have to be demanding. In fact, by keeping a level head you can create content that engages your users every day. Before creating new content, Gryffindors, such as Hermione Granger, would recommend a content calendar to keep organized. In our fast-paced news world, your brand needs verve to stand out, and by keeping a calendar you’ll never miss a story. Remember, you don’t need to post parcels of text everyday. Keep it short and concise!
Alongside an updated content calendar, channel your inner chivalry by being genuine with your followers. If you want to convert followers into qualified leads you need to court them. So, after a user follows you on Instagram or Twitter, always follow back. Send thank yous to followers who interact with your pages. Another way Gryffindors channel their inner chivalry on social media is in their desire to help the less fortunate. Use your platform to promote nonprofits, unique events, and other local businesses to make a difference. Standing up for what’s right on social media, even being political when needed, is what make Gryffindors vital members of a marketing team. In the wise words of Dumbledore, it takes courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.
If you are trying to expand your network, be daring by connecting with other brands. Follow and interact with unusual or even competitor pages to develop your company’s social media presence. You are creating new opportunities for collaboration in the future. On Twitter, brands like Wendy’s and Taco Bell often tweet each other to shade other fast food restaurants. This unusual pairing has created new content opportunities and is highly memorable in the industry. So remember, channel your inner Gryffindor to increase your network, create unusual relationships, and always take chances on your content.
Hufflepuff (Simone, Intern)
There’s a common misconception that the Hufflepuff house is where everyone who isn’t “special” ends up, since they aren’t defined by flashy traits like athleticism or bravery. Everyone wanted to be a Gryffindor until Newt Scamander hit the big screen and proved that those of us from the badger house are so much more than particularly good finders. The qualities that make up Hufflepuff (such as being loyal, amicable, and down-to-earth) all have value when it comes to social media, too.
Hogwarts students of the Hufflepuff house live closer to the kitchen than anyone else, so we always know what’s cooking, which is a lot like being aware of trends to better reach an audience. As warm people who know how to make friends, we recommend following and interacting in real-time to create a network of relevant connections on social media platforms. Hufflepuff house is known for loyalty, so we don’t, not even accidentally, post negative comments or interactions.
Arguably, the most important Hufflepuff trait when it comes to social media, though, is patience. From meticulously curating content to patiently picking hashtags, a Hufflepuff knows how important it is to stick around for the best results. We want the fruits of our labor to be shared, after all!
Ravenclaw (Claire, Community Manager)
The key traits of Ravenclaws are intelligence, wit, and wisdom. As the sorting hat puts it:
"Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind."
When it comes to social media, a Ravenclaw would advise you to compile a team (or, ahem, hire one) of writers and designers who can produce meaningful, creative content that your readers will actually appreciate. In a world of drab listicles churning through the content production machine, be a beacon of relevant, useful information. Be a Ravenclaw!
Whatever your expertise, give away a bit of succinct advice for free on a regular basis through your social media channels. The Ravenclaw’s fans and customers will come to know her brand as a resource with serious expertise. Those who develop a relationship of trust with the Ravenclaw will stay with her business and help it grow year over year through word-of-mouth awareness.
Ravenclaws are creative and so intelligent they can’t help but be daring sometimes. They practice types of magic other houses would shun. To channel the Ravenclaw in your social media efforts, don’t be afraid to let your creativity take the lead. Give your team time to brainstorm and exercise their wit in writing. Be bold; create interesting narratives and constellations of brand experiences. Also, take heed of Pepsi’s mistakes and be wise enough not to insert your brand where it definitely doesn’t belong.
Ravenclaws are wise, intelligent, daring, and creative at once. Represented by the eagle, a Ravenclaw soars above the big picture of social media, looking down into the chaos to find places where pertinent commentary might be made. Watch your content rise to the top of people’s social media feeds: Audiences love smart content! A subtler side of channeling the Ravenclaw on social media: Trust the intelligence of your audience. Give them something real, smart and worthwhile… and then back that compelling content up with a solid ad strategy. You’d make the Grey Lady proud!
Slytherin (Michael, Ad Strategist)
When it comes to social media, the Slytherin community focuses on the power of ambitious strategies that deliver results. Our recommendations for success are to develop researched audiences, perform A/B tests, and stay informed. Never assume you know your audience. Always confirm what you may know with research and data. Use that data and further your research by answering these questions: Who does your audience follow? What websites do they frequent? And what causes do they fund? Go even further by addressing what your findings tell you about your audience in your content and strategy. We cannot emphasize this enough: Build custom and lookalike audiences.
We Slytherins are known to benefit from weighing numerous outcomes; thus we recommend running A/B tests to determine which of your ads are the most effective. The results of A/B testing provide an immense amount of value, as they weed out the aspects of ads that would end up costing more and performing poorly. Test a variety of copy, copy placement, creative images, calls-to-action, links, and audiences. Eventually, you will gain an understanding of what performs well and put more budget toward ads that deliver.
Slytherins pride ourselves on resourcefulness, so we are constantly furthering our knowledge of social media. Acquiring Facebook’s Blueprint certification helps assure we have the intelligence and acumen required to prosper in the dark arts of social media ad management. We stay up-to-date with the ever-changing platforms, especially as social media companies continue to endeavor to be more transparent and protect users’ privacy. In general, we stay informed on the industry with other useful resources: following social media agencies (like WideFoc.us ), engaging with key influencers, reading articles from popular advertising news publishers (Adweek, Ad Age, American Marketing Association, Marketing News), and getting updates from top social media news sites (Social Media Today, Mashable, Digital Trends and Social Times).
Undoubtedly, the Harry Potter books have influenced the world and we can use their lessons to create dynamic content that delivers on its potential. Although the four Hogwarts houses approach social media differently, at the core of each is this lesson: Work hard and connect with your audiences by getting to know them. Make connections, build trust, be bold, and always be ready to learn more. Build your own team with members of the four houses for a well-rounded and informed cohort. Or reach out to our team of lions, eagles, badgers, and snakes for real-time social media.