3 social media lessons you can learn from Audrey HepburnArticle added by Amy McIlwain on July 2, 2012
Amy McIlwain

Amy McIlwain

Denver, CO

Joined: August 26, 2010

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Audrey Hepburn didn’t live to witness the glorious age of social media, but there are several fundamental aspects of her character and work ethic that translated to her success.

As many of us already know, social media is at the cutting edge of any contemporary marketing strategy. And while some are hesitant to jump on the social bandwagon, there is a gold mine of opportunity that awaits.

If used efficiently and strategically, social media will help you generate leads, build your network, increase your business’s credibility, improve relationships with potential and existing clients and provide you a stage to strut your expertise.

Now, I bet you are wondering, what does Audrey Hepburn have to do with all of this? Well, Hepburn didn’t live to witness the glorious age of social media, but there are several fundamental aspects of her character and work ethic that translated to her success — three of which were her boldness to embrace the unknown, her spunk and creativity and her knack for building relationships with others. Combined, these traits are the perfect recipe for a social media storm.

Here’s how you can embrace a Hepburn style for social success:

Never be boring:

Audrey Hepburn was a beautifully versatile actress. From “My Fair Lady” to “The Unforgiven,” she mastered being kooky, serious, sexy and everything in between. Hepburn was never boring and often loomed on the verge of unpredictability.

When it comes to social media marketing, you ought to adopt this same attitude. Mix up the content you put on your social media platforms. Be interesting and relevant — all the while keeping your audience engaged. Instead of posting the same random articles that you half-read on Google Alerts, use a combination of humor, quotes, questions, relevant articles, contests and blog posts to keep your audience interested. And don’t be afraid to step out of the box and try something different every once in awhile. There is no cookie cutter approach for social media success, so experiment.

Branch out:

“I was asked to act when I couldn’t act. I was asked to sing 'Funny Face' when I couldn’t sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn’t dance — and do all kinds of things I wasn’t prepared for.”

Hepburn never hesitated to branch out of her comfort zone when the occasion called for it. Although she labeled herself as “inexperienced,” she embraced unfamiliarity both on and off the stage. Outside of acting, Hepburn even vacated her comfortable, well-to-do lifestyle as an actress to work in the fields of under-developed countries.

As a social media expert, don’t be afraid to branch out. Seek new platforms like Pinterest (which is wildly popular — especially among women), Paper.li and Google+, and find ways to effectively use them to your business’s advantage.
Also experiment with potentially unfamiliar mediums like video, podcasts, blog writing, webinars and mobile applications to grow your presence. While they may seem foreign, they will diversify and expand your realm of influence.

Build relationships

“I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.”

Hepburn, as described in biographies, was very in tune to others and thrived on human relationships. Aspects that set her apart were her patience, loyalty and an observant nature. She was energetic when it came to building relationships, without thinking it was tiresome.

As a social media expert, your job is to relentlessly focus on relationship building, just as Hepburn did. How can you do this?
  • By observing and acquiring a keen understanding of your audience. What do they enjoy doing? What are their hobbies, income level, education, family dynamics? Create content that parallels the interests and needs of your audience. Also, don’t hesitate to start conversations with new and existing followers. This is a great way to build your network, find leads, and establish reliability. Just remember to keep it genuine.

  • Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask for replies, comments, and opinions from your audience.

  • Talk in terms of other peoples’ interest. Keep content interesting and relevant to your audience by taking metrics seriously and aligning goals to customer needs. The Content Marketing Institute offers some great tips for engaging new and existing customers.

  • Make a person feel important, and do it sincerely. Engage in conversations, acknowledge comments and answer questions within a reasonable time frame.

  • Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. Create dialogue that stirs people to think and generate their own ideas.

  • Give honest and sincere appreciation. Offer gestures of gratitude and reciprocate likes and follows.
Although Hepburn lived in a generation that long preceded social media (or the Internet for that matter), her personality and approach to success is timeless. That said, go out and release your inner Hepburn in the social media world. As she once said, “Opportunities don’t often come along. So when they do, you have to grab them.”
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