Andy Griffith and The 3 Stages of Social Media Engagement

Note: here is a republished post from November of 2011 I wanted to share as we remember Andy Griffith today.

As we begin to wrap up a year of explosive growth in Social Media usage and engagement, I’m seeing many Social Media Marketers moving into new stages of their own involvement. It reminds me of similar changes of audience engagement by one of the all-time great story tellers.
I speak, of course, of Andy Griffith’s portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry!

Stage 1: Over the top and finding our way

At the start of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy’s depiction was the same as the characters he had been playing on stage and screen and in his popular monologues and comedy records for the previous few years. Andy was over-the-top, absurd, and loud. It’s what Andy knew how to do to get attention and laughs. 
Andy Griffith
Stage 1 Andy: All Laughs

We dig into our own history of past success and use those same tactics when launching our social media engagement. Sometimes it fits, but more often than not, marketers need to tweak their voice and role, leading to…

Stage 2: Getting down to business and finding our role

After the first season or so, Andy realized that it would be best for the show if he played the straight man and let those around him get the laughs. His decision to pay it forward catapulted the show into legendary status.

Andy Griffith
Stage 2 Andy: Paying It Forward

The character of Andy as the normal and wise hub for the crazy Mayberry citizens’ shenanigans is a great role model for how Social Media Marketers should carry themselves within their online communities. Be the Andy by helping solve your connections’ business problems, mediating different point of views, and most of all promoting others before yourself.

Note, many so-called Social Media “Experts” or “Gurus” are the equivalent of Deputy Barney Fife. They take credit for others’ heroics, crow about their own expertise, and obsess on the tools of the trade rather than the message. Barneys don’t really make a community worse; in fact, they can be funny. But in the end, we’re just laughing at them. 

Stage 3: Getting annoyed by and tired of those around us

It would be best if you as a Social Media Marketer could stay in a perpetual stage two. Toward the end of The Andy Griffith Show’s original run, Andy’s character further developed into a role that you don’t want to be. These episodes are easy to identify as they are in color and “Angry Andy” is constantly irritated by the dimwits around him.   

Andy and Aunt Bee
Stage 3 Andy: Annoyed
If you feel yourself getting easily agitated by the day to day engagement with the Goobers and Aunt Bees in your online communities, it may be time to stop and to move on to new challenges.

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