6 things "Rocky Horror" can teach us about social media

1. Audience participation is key. Everyone has a role to play! 

Too often, people forget the "social" part of "social media." It's not another broadcast medium, it's an opportunity to involve people

At a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" showing, you'll see people in various roles. Some are up on stage, in costume, lip-syncing lines and dancing around. Some judge costume contests. The majority of the people are in the audience, some of them in costume, many of them throwing props around, singing along, and shouting riffs at the screen. But unlike almost any other theatrical experience, everybody at a "Rocky Horror" show contributes to everybody else's experience.

So, to put this in a social media context, those people up on stage would be your "influencers." But they wouldn't really have anyone to "influence" if it weren't for the audience present - people to spread the message, respond to it, reshape it. Everyone is valuable, but they play different roles. Check out this infographic and white paper on social influencers to see where the different people in your audience fit in, and how best to engage them. 

2. "Let's do the Time Warp again!"

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Timing is everything! "Rocky Horror" thrives on midnight shows (it's done so many in the past 38 years, in fact, it holds the record for the longest theatrical release in history). Midnight shows are the most effective time to reach the intended audience - typically, college-age people - and to showcase less-than-family-friendly content without worrying about kids showing up.

Think about who you're trying to reach, and what the best time of day to reach them might be. College students? Mornings are terrible, but late nights are great. Working professionals? A lot of people don't have access to social media at work, so posting items in the evening or early morning is best. Regardless of your audience, experiment to try to find when you get the most traction.

3. "I'm just a sweet transvestite..." 

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The first time I saw "Rocky Horror," it's safe to say it was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. And the character of Frank N. Furter is a compelling centerpiece to the show. He is utterly self-confident, charming, and unashamed of being who he is. His opening number is a declaration of being loud and proud and unique. You can't look away.

What is it that makes your organization unique? Showcase it. Be proud of it. Humanize your brand

4. "I could show you my favorite obsession." 

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Really dig into your cause. Get obsessed with it. Write about it as if it were the best and most interesting thing in the world. Find and commiserate with others who are equally obsessed with it. The more interested you are in the subject, the more enthusiastic you are about it, the more people will want to read about it.

5. "I see you shiver with antici...pation."

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"Curiosity marketing" works. I attended a dynamite session at SXSW in 2009 with Rohit Bhargava and Kaitlyn Wilkins about the subject. People like suspense and excitement. They like to feel like they're "insiders." Case in point: You clicked to read this blog post because you wanted to know what these six items were, didn't you? Try using these kinds of tactics in your social media work.

6. "Don't dream it. Be it!"

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Take small risks - or bigger ones, if your organization's culture and budget will permit it. Let your presence evolve over time. Try new things. Don't be afraid.

Got other ideas? Share 'em in the comments.