Seven Words of Wisdom from C. S. Lewis on… Social Media Marketing?

| May 5, 2014

cs-lewisCPN On Point is pleased to publish marketing articles from Bob Hutchins, President of BuzzPlant, a leading national marketing company.

C.S. Lewis is famous for wearing quite a few hats in his time: novelist, teacher, critic, and apologist – to name just a few. “Social media marketing expert” was most definitely not one of those titles. (In truth, Lewis wasn’t that keen on technology on the whole.) But, great minds like Lewis and Tolkien have a way of speaking universal truths that even apply to fields they couldn’t have dreamed (like … social media marketing).

The BuzzPlant team is a tight group of Lewis nerds (we even got to do some marketing work on a Narnia film), so indulge us, won’t you?

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”

Classic advertising wisdom says a customer has to hear a message seven times before it really registers. Repetition is key in driving a message home. So, if you have something important to say on a noisy platform like Twitter, don’t be timid about repetition in your Tweets. Guy Kawasaki says to repeat Tweets four times a day. (And if Guy does it, it’s usually a good idea.)

“We are what we believe we are.”

Solid branding is a fundamental part of any social media marketing strategy. You can’t post spammy offers one day and then try to get buddy-buddy with your followers the next. Consciously create your identity before you get going. (Yes, it will change, but it helps to have a strong starting point.) And, as Lewis suggests, you will become that identity you believe yourself to be.

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

I love all three of these quotes, but especially the last. That image of a man having to completely turn around – even when he could push further down the road and meet some small success – is so poignant, but at the same time inspiring. If you really want to do a marketing job right, you’ll eventually find yourself in a situation where you have to trash your ideas and go back to the drawing table. It hurts; but it’s always worth it.

“No man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

By all means, read the case studies. Observe how the companies you admire do their social media marketing. But when it comes to your own marketing strategy, don’t try to force yourself into being the “local” Whole Foods, the “small business” Leo Burnett, or the “indie” Spotify. Instead of copying the social media styles of larger companies you admire, march to the beat of your own drum.

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Lastly, I think this quote speaks wonderfully to the potential depths of social media marketing. Just because it’s Twitter or Facebook doesn’t mean it should be flippant and shallow. Keep your message simple, by all means. But give it depth. The Facebook brand page might actually be one of the best pages that illustrate how a simple message can go so deep.


Category: Marketing

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Email | Website | Bob Hutchins (Franklin, TN) runs Buzzplant (www.buzzplant.com), A 12+ year old Internet marketing agency targeting the faith/family market. His team was an integral part of the online campaign for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, Soul Surfer, and many other movies, books, music releases, and events. His client/partner roster includes Time-Life, Sony Pictures, General Motors, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Warner Brothers, Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan. He is co-founder of The Faith-Based Marketing Association and Ground Force Network, and has been featured on Fox News, MSNBC, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Fortune Magazine, MarketingVOX, American City Business Journals, Dallas Morning News, and on various television/radio media. He is also the co-author of Faith Based Marketing, published by John Wiley and Sons, and his second book- The Recommendation Age. He also teaches Social Media Marketing to MBA students at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.