3 Social Media Lessons from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Oct 2011

rockyIf you happened to hit your teens in the 80’s like me, you probably have fond memories of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Midnight showings, character costumes, rice, “virgins,” water pistols, “Time Warp,” toast, sound familiar?

For me and my small group of geeky (and I use the word with utmost affection) high-school friends, Rocky Horror was far more than a movie and a soundtrack, more than a trend or a fad. It was colorful, exuberant, in-your-face, unabashedly sexual, earwormingly quotable, … and just weird enough to strike a deep chord in those of us who found ourselves in life’s most awkward interval.

So on this Halloween, I decided to turn to one of the world’s greatest ongoing costume parties for a little social media inspiration. Here are a few lessons we can take away from the Rocky Horror phenomenon when it comes to social media for business:

1. Be Prepared

The good RHPS audience member knows exactly which props to bring to the party: rice for the wedding scene, a newspaper for the rainstorm, toast for the dinner toast, the list goes on. Likewise, as social media publishers (and yes, we all are), we need to be prepared with our own survival kit: our strategic plan, our policies, our editorial calendars, our evergreen content … and our quick reflexes that allow us to react to events on a moment’s notice.

2. Timing Is Everything

According to its Wikipedia page, “Rocky Horror is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to be in the midnight movie market. The motion picture has a large international cult following and is one of the most well known and financially successful midnight movies of all time.

The decision to release RHPS as a midnight flick was a stroke of genius, tailor-made to appeal to its counter-culture audience. Over 35 years later, it can still pack houses at an hour that’s way past the average movie-goer’s bedtime.

In social media, we need to know our audience’s timing and use it to our advantage. That goes for the time of day, time of week, time of month, and time of year. Find out what your audience needs and when they need it … then be there to deliver.

3. “Don’t Dream It—Be It”

One of the most popular yearbook quotes of all time, and it still rings true … especially for those of us trying to make magic happen in social media. The socialverse is still new territory, folks, and if something hasn’t been done before, all the more reason to give it a go. We’re playing in a playground where innovation reigns, mistakes are (mostly) forgiven, and timidity is the greatest sin of all.

So, what about you? Any thoughts on Rocky Horror’s lessons to those of us trying to make magic in the socialverse? Leave us a note in the comments … or pop into the nearest castle and pick up a phone.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

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