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Three Lessons on Social Media From Dick Clark

*originally posted on April 18, 2012

Three Farmers and Two Geese


Today the entertainment industry lost one of its greatest contributors, Dick Clark. He spent over 60 years in numerous memorable roles from radio to music to television. One of the roles that he is less noted for is entrepreneur; some of Clark's biggest marks on the industry were actually ones he created. Dick Clark was always the 'cool kid'. He wanted to be a part of what was new. In fact, he said that he wished he had been a little younger when the Internet takeover began. In an 1999 interview with James Moll, Clark was asked "How do you describe the start to your professional career?" Clark responded with a story of his first job in the mailroom of a radio station. In the mornings he would sit with disc jockey, Danny Fusco and give the weather forecast for the rural radio network, assuming that no one was listening. But when Clark started performing as if someone was listening, that was when his career began. That set him in motion to receive the DJ job in college that moved him to the next step. He did his best no matter who was listening - and eventually someone did listen.
"I suddenly realized one day that there's like three farmers and two geese listening somewhere and I got sweaty palms." - Dick Clark
Photo Courtesy of  Shazz

Speak to One


One of the most challenging things for a small business or nonprofit is to decide how much time or energy to spend on social media marketing. Building a community online is about relationships, making it a tedious process.  Recently at a meeting for a local nonprofit, someone said "We're not going to make money posting something up on our Facebook page each day." That is true. Sort of. But, you have to start somewhere. It doesn't matter how many followers you have if they aren't engaged or interacting with you.

"He had the ability to communicate to that one person that was listening," Clark said about Arthur Godfrey, whom he modeled after. Looking back on his American Band Stand interviews, he always made the audience feel as though he was having an intimate conversation with just that artist. Similar to live radio and television, social media is dependent on people feeling connected. If your message is always to the masses, you might start losing your crowd one by one. 

"There's only one person listening at a time...just be yourself" - Dick Clark
Mariah Carey and Dick Clark Rockin' in the 2005 New Year.
Photo Courtesy of nypost.com

Have Fun

Dick Clark was known as the nation's oldest teenager, mostly for his youthful appearance. But, there was something else fresh and youthful about him: he enjoyed himself and tried new things. He acquired his own certitude within his career by being open to try new things. When the position opened up as the host of the American Bandstand he had been a DJ for an easy listening station.  Imagine his thoughts when he was asked to play this as his first record:



Clark didn't hesitate to learn a different type of music and a new kind of job. "I learned by the seat of my pants."  If you don't find some enjoyment in what you are doing, it will show. Speaking with business professionals, I have heard "I know I have to learn social media, but I really think it's a waste of time" or "I don't have time to play around online." My prescription? Do what you like. For instance, if you like organizing things into pretty little groups - you might be a great candidate for Pinterest. If you need to use Twitter, but you don't like it or understand it - think of your five favorite famous people and follow them. Chances are, you will find a new reason to log on. Once you get in the hang of tweeting for fun, doing it for work will be less of a nuisance. Social media isn't going anywhere - so why not enjoy it?


I was planning to run the 2nd part of The Educated Emotion: People Talk series today. However, spontaneity and emotion took over and I felt it was appropriate to pay tribute and say goodnight to a great.


Rest in Peace, Dick Clark!


 © Leslie McGraw
Twitter: @LesGo4It
Facebook: facebook.com/LesGo4It
Stumble Upon: @LesGo4It


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