George Takei – From Sulu to Marketing Guru
It’s okay to be Takei! A few years ago, if you knew the name George Takei at all, you were probably a Star Trek fan (ahem, geek?) that remembered him from his role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series or from some of the early movies. However, over the past year or two, the name George Takei has taken the world by storm and he is now known by a large cross-section of the population. George Takei has become somewhat of an internet celebrity—his name is almost as well-known as Grumpy Cat! George has made Facebook his playground, and has a huge number of followers. The most humorous comparisons exist when you note how many people “like” George on Facebook and then note how (relatively) few “like” other Star Trek alums. When you are looking to market your business and get your name out there, taking a few lessons from Mr. Takei and noting his rise to prominence will go a long way!
In early 2011, George started noticing that Facebook was a great place for him to interact with his fans. Unlike a blog where he would have to create regular posts or even hire a copywriter to stay ahead of the game, Facebook was great for sharing bite-sized bits of information. Even though George Takei was very busy working on a Broadway play and other projects, he could log into Facebook and develop a dialogue with his fans directly on his Facebook wall. From the get go, Mr. Takei had a following of Star Trek fans and those who supported him because of his work within the GLBT community.
One of the hallmarks of George Takei’s Facebook page was the photos and images he shared. He scoured the web to find the best funny photos and sayings and posted them to his page. Not only did these images “go viral,” but it put his name out there too. As people shared these pictures with friends and family, more and more people began “liking” the George Takei page—even those who did not necessarily remember him from his Sulu days. As of early April 2013, over 3,800,000 people have “liked”” George on the social media network.
Anyone who follows George Takei on Facebook knows that his posts are across the board. There is a large number of posts featuring “geek humor,” GLBT issues and other topics; however, there are just as many posts about cats, bacon and the other things most important to internet browsers.
For example, this simple “math geek” cartoon was posted on Saturday March 30, 2013. By Tuesday April 2nd, over 145,000 people had “liked” it, and over 38,000 had shared it.
That kind of interaction is something that any person who understands marketing has to appreciate, whether or not he or she is actually a fan of the former Lieutenant Sulu.
You may see George’s success on Facebook and wonder how you could possibly utilize his method of reaching the masses. While you may never experience that level of success, his method is simple. He posts content that his fans will want to share. Instead of treating Facebook as your personal marketing tool, find ways to engage your followers. While you may use your business’s Facebook page to post deals, advertise new products and try to drum up business, make certain you connect with those who “like” you in other ways. Share a funny photo, a bit of industry-related humor or other things that have “sharabiity.” Every time one of these is shared, your Facebook page, and in turn your business name, is put in front of someone new.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.