Billy Mack, Social Media Rock Star

What makes social special?

How different the world today. It’s more connected than ever, more watched and read, more followed and engaged.

Forgetting all the bots and fakers, social media allows people to connect to celebrities, to business moguls, to entrepreuners and thought leaders. Social can play matchmaker; when billionaire T. Boone Pickens retweets rapper Drake, it’s magic that results in one of Twitter’s finest moments.

What makes a social media star?

Not sure there is a magic formula – it’s about being real, human, having personality. Those tres uber popular on social media have a lot going for them:

  • Celebrity. Whether it’s the real or ‘internet’ famous, the more who know of you – the greater your audience of followers and fans. And when my dad’s heard your name, then you’re BIG.
  • Engagement. Responding to others; talking to the audience; it’s about access, seeing the inside. When I see someone like Avengers director Joss Whedon do an AMA on Reddit, says that he ‘gets it’ – he knows it’s the fans that matter.
  • Authenticity. Not talking about b.s. notions of 100% transparency; that’s way TMI. I mean ditching the script once in a while and keeping it real.

People – individuals and celebs and *gack!* personal ‘brands’ – I think have a better chance at connecting with fans, with customers (aka other people) by simply being human, flaws and all. Which is why I think that “one bad tweet” sending social stars – ala Ashton Kutcher – running for the boring embrace of outsourced social media consultants is often a mistake.*

*Not for nothing, I’m a consultant. And I’d have advised 1) an apology and 2) a little coaching to not make the same mistake. One poorly devised tweet wasn’t exactly ‘off brand’ for someone who’s made his bones being a Punk’d Jackass or whatever, but turning over an open and genuine Twitter account – once famously linked to a race vs. Oprah for fans – was.


(Side note: Social presents different opportunities – and challenges – for brands, politicians, executives. One errant tweet from Tim Cook and Apple’s stock could take an unfortunate dip while possibly sending shares in pitchforks through the roof. Just saying.)

Billy Mack, Social MegaStar

Ever see Love Actually? On cable the other night and I couldn’t help but be sucked in (again).

Bill Nighy’s performance of a has-been rocker pandering to the Christmas audience is effing hilarious. Set today, he’d be a social media LEGEND – crazy, profane, transparent with zero bullshit about quality or value. He’d be real.

I don’t follow many brands on social media – too much like the digital equivalent of a dose of Ambien. But if they were a little more like Billy Mack, I might reconsider.

Is there something you and your business learn from the likes of a Billy Mack? Have you – or your business – experienced benefits (or dangers) of being more human and social?

Photo credit: Discovered Bluntcard not too long ago. Squee!

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10 thoughts on “Billy Mack, Social Media Rock Star

  1. Being a social media star is only about self. It’s how you engage; period. Read a piece about buying Twitter followers to boost numbers to look more cool and officially rock starish; malarkey. Those people are still the same as they were yesterday trying to figure out how to have a genuine conversation in the stream; 200,000 followers or not.
    jayme soulati recently posted..When Public Apology Falls Short

    1. Ugh, buying followers. There’s a service now that scans for fakers; wish there were more of that b/c yes too many users are either fakes, bots, inactives, duplicates, feeds. It’s why follower count is one of the most bullshit vanity metrics.

      That’s the thing w/ all this social, self. We want people to be real, human, be themselves b/c THAT is what connects to others. But when someone says or does something bad or stupid, brands get all uppity and fire their spokespeople, have the nerve to be all shocked and bothered. Can’t you just see it – someone like a Billy Mack (or as Jenn said, Charlie Sheen) gets hired to endorse something, but then he is all offensive and crazy and the brand gets called out on SM, then lets him go b/c he’s ‘not aligned with the brand and our commitment to our customers blah blah.’ Like THAT is why you hired him in the first place, his offensiveness is what built HIS brand. Can’t have it both ways. FWIW.

  2. I believe I am the only person in the world who did not like Love, Actually. In fact, I hated it. My husband will start to sing that “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes” and I start yelling!

    At any rate, I feel like Billy Mack and Charlie Sheen would really get along on Twitter. They’d be all, I like your style, Mr Tiger Blood.

    1. There were some subplots I didn’t like, but overall it’s a better than average romcom. That said, didn’t think about Charlie Sheen – nice call. You’re right – I could see them following each other and Billy Mack tweeting all “WTF? crazy tiger blood.” FWIW.

  3. Keepin’ it real……..whatever that is, huh? I’m pretty sure what you see of me in here and out is what you get. I try not to have too many secrets, but I also try not to have too many hidden agendas either.

    There were some early people I connected with that turned out to be more manipulators than anything; and if you were not perceived to be able to further their cause they didn’t have much to do with you. Initially I resented that and thought what a butt-kisser, but after giving it some thought, if that was their plan all along and they are sticking with it, who am I to judge? I would never support them in any way or recommend them; but they probably don’t care or expect it anyway.

    I guess lesson learned is be yourself but it’s still ok to be likable; and don’t get caught up in the noise and distractions.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Stale as a day old post

    1. I’ve been ‘accused’ of just wanting to be likable but that’s not exactly the case. We all need a certain amount of popularity, pleasantness – if we’re going to earn any following of scale, any respect, any credibility. Not sure the tipping point and no I really don’t want to be ‘liked’ by everyone, just the right someones. You know, those w/ fat wallets and dream jobs. 😉

      My agendas have never been hidden: this IS about clients and building a business, about promoting myself for work. Nothing wrong w/ being out for yourself – if you’re not, who will?! – but yeah, also too much gaming and manipulation for my taste. Also pretty WYSIWYG; not the whole story, but what’s there is real .. though sadly not near as fun as Billy Mack. FWIW.

  4. Ha!! I had forgotten the name of the Billy Mack character, and was expecting to see in your post some famous Tweeter of Facebook guy that was all the rage.

    Billy is fantastic. A perfect candidate for social media star. Someone should forward this to Bill Nighy.

    Personally, I have to fight through the Southern politeness that was drilled into me at birth to get to authenticity. (“Don’t say that, Barrett, that isn’t polite!” the lady told her 6-year-old. ) Authenticity is disarming. When people’s defenses are disarmed, cool stuff can happen, online and in person.

    I have one new client who has taken the bull by the horns and is killing it on social media. I just hope we can harness all his authenticity and engagement, get to some celebrity, and leverage it all to make his startup everything it can be. Like you say, there are risks. But for a startup, is there any better way of building a community?
    Barrett Rossie recently posted..Two Grocery Stores, Two Lessons

    1. Post on {grow} today about using emotion; you’re not going to get EVERYONE so don’t try. Of course you should be smart about it but still, you have to find a way to be real. I’m also of the “polite Southern” training, yet still try to speak my mind when something moves me. Someone like a Billy Mack would of course alienate a ton of people, seeming crass and impolite – but it’s real and you’re right, totally disarming. His community wouldn’t be everyone, but his fans would be loyal, they’d act, they’d buy. FWIW.

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