Political intrigue, relentless passion, a strong female lead and a diverse cast have made me a huge fan of the television drama Scandal, based on a real-life former White House press aide who runs a crisis management firm in Washington D.C. I faithfully tweet with the legions of @ScandalABC followers as we anticipate the start of Season 3 on October 3rd. Olivia Pope and her staff have branded themselves #gladiators, fearless “fixers” of maddeningly complex high-profile messes in Beltway politics — to the delight of almost 1.2 million Facebook fans.
Delving deeper into my obsession with the show, the fixer role resonates with me because I’m a social media marketing strategist and practitioner at SAP, and I have friends in similar roles. Throughout the seasons, I’ve found striking similarities between being a Scandal fixer and a social media marketer Here are a few of my favorites:
- Big data: In Scandal, Huck is all about the data. He provides blazingly fast insights from hacking (um, mining) databases to solve mysteries. His findings are typically the catalyst to move the plotline forward and just what the #gladiator team needs at that moment. Similarly, unstructured social media data is a treasure-trove for marketers who ask the right questions. Marketers must apply similar “destination thinking” to our projects to avoid the trap of many big data marketing projects: substituting a deliverable for the original end goal. Learn more about avoiding this trap in the blog “Big Data Marketing is All About the Questions.”
- Manage your identity – it’s only as effective as you make it. Scandal’s #gladiator team has characters that have created new identities out of necessity — typically because the first identity got into too much trouble! Many social media marketers also create personas online for their brands and themselves, doing so in a way that blends their personal and professional presence that is seamless and complementary. Successfully managing online identity is an important skill, as business-to-people marketing requires that you show up online as your authentic self to humanize your brand.
- Everyday at the office brings an unexpected challenge: Olivia and team regularly get pulled into the crises of their clients — dealing with the unexpected is the norm for them. Social media strategists are asked to work on projects for which there is no precedent. From establishing new brand channels and the governance for them, to creating influencer programs, to creating and managing the transformation into a social business is all part of the job. Contingency, or “problem solving, unscheduled posts, social research and damage control,” is the second most time-consuming part of the job, according to an Intersection Consulting infographic on Social Media Workflow.
If you share my passion fixer-style solving of business issues with no obvious answer, check out Season 3 of Scandal, starting this week — and let’s have a chat. It’s another thing I love about social media.
And another thing I love about Scandal? Olivia Pope’s wardrobe. Perhaps one day I can add that to my list of similarities!!
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Photo courtesy of http://abc.go.com/shows/scandal/photos