7 Tips for Social Media Marketing Inspired by Sheldon’s Friendship Algorithm

Data can drive anything with the right people to interpret it, maybe even friendships! I think Sheldon was onto something…

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon describes his friendship algorithm. It can teach us 7 lessons for social media strategies.

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Let’s examine some of his principles and see how they apply to social media marketing for your business.

Sheldon’s Friendship Algorithm and Social Media


1. Sheldon’s Friendship Deficiencies = Social Media Challenges

As businesses everywhere attempt social media campaigns to engage customers and influence their buying decisions, it’s important to look at your industry and recognize the challenges. Who is your competition? What’s working? What’s not? What are you currently missing with your current social media campaign?

2. Sheldon Studies Stu the Cockatoo = Study Your Data (ie Analytics)

Your analytics agency should be your guide in developing the social strategy alongside your creative teams. Work with them to develop the “flowchart” for your campaign using their insights and observations of your customer’s behavior online.

Sheldon (on phone): Hello, Kripke. Yes, Sheldon Cooper here. It occurred to me you hadn’t returned any of my calls because I hadn’t offered any concrete suggestions for pursuing our friendship. Perhaps the two of us might share a meal together… I see. Well then perhaps you’d have time for a hot beverage. Popular choices include tea, coffee, cocoa… I see. No, no, no, wait. Don’t hang up yet. What about a recreational activity? I bet we share some common interests. Tell me an interest of yours. Really? On actual horses? Tell me another interest of yours. Oh no, I’m sorry, I have no desire to get in the water until I absolutely have to. Tell me another interest of yours.

3. Sheldon Makes the First Move = Reach Out to the Customers You Want

There is more success when you reach out to specific customer types through social media. Find your customers on the sites they use every day and let them know you know they’re alive. Sheldon accepts that perhaps he isn’t involved in meaningful interactions because he isn’t offering any concrete suggestions. Similarly, you should have a concrete strategy and calls to action throughout every social media effort. There should be purpose and genuine interest to engage your target market. After all why should they choose you (nerdy Sheldon) instead of someone else much cooler? ( i.e. a company that has already gained a huge social audience.) Still, even you and Sheldon can make friends.

4. Share a Meal or a Hot Beverage = ENGAGE!

When you throw something out to your audience and they aren’t interested in what you’ve suggested, recognize it quickly and offer something else. If something doesn’t work, move on, measure user interactions and behavior but don’t dwell on it. Don’t push a drawn out, super involved social media campaign down people’s throats if they’re uninterested. Learn quickly from mistakes and offer rewards to your followers or offer them amazing content that will keep them coming back for more.

5. Sheldon Listens to Ideas = Listen to Your Customers Through Social Media

Track behavior online, track people who tweet, like and follow your brand. Listen to their suggestions. If people are tweeting that there’s too much salt on the fries at your restaurant, make a change! If they suggest staying open later at your beach location, try it out! These responses to social media help you gain loyalty. Spark questions and ask your social media followers for ideas.

6. Stuck in an Infinite Loop = Don’t Get Stuck on What You CAN’T Do

Sure, not everyone likes horseback riding and there is no way in hell Sheldon will be mounting a creature of such limited brain capacity in this lifetime. Similarly, your business isn’t about to hand out 10,000 free concert tickets for your exclusive Pitbull and Katy Perry LIVE concert series. However you can find the “least objectionable activity” just like Sheldon when he decided rock climbing was completely tolerable. Find a common ground with your customers online.
Want an example of this in real life digital marketing? Target did this when they decided to offer tickets for a big upcoming concert ONLY through their Facebook page and a custom app. Customers still had to purchase tickets, but with this intelligent strategy, the concert sold out within about an hour AND the page gained followers like wildfire. Find that LOA and use it for your social marketing efforts.

7. Sheldon Offers to Foot the Bill = Give Your Customers Incentives!

Not only did Sheldon find out what his potential friend’s interests were, he offered to pay for their first man-date. Don’t just offer your customers annoying coupons and deals they don’t want! Use all the data you can gather to determine what they would want, offer it to them, and if they are interested follow up!

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