Copy this “Oscar-Ready” Approach to Boost Your Social Media Star Power

image of oscar statue

Did you see the Oscar awards the other night? Yeah, I didn’t either. tl;dw.

But like most people with social media accounts, I did see chatter about it that night and the next day.

And who was the darling of this year, amid the usual tedious acceptance speeches and awkward emcee moments?

Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence was also the informal winner of this year’s “adorable celebrity” award, for stumbling on her way up the stairs.

What made it work was the way she handled it, both immediately after and in the media interviews that followed. Starting with the fact that she didn’t seem to be “handling” it at all.

Here are a few quotes:

Reporter: The fall on the way to the stage … what happened?

Lawrence: What do you mean what happened? Look at my dress. (laughs) I tried to walk upstairs in this dress. That’s what happened.

Reporter: What went through your mind?

Lawrence: What went through my mind when I fell down? Uh, a bad word that I can’t say. (pause) That starts with F.

Reporter: What was the process of getting ready [for the Oscars] today?

Lawrence: I don’t know, I woke up and tried on the dress, and it fit, thank God. And then, uh, I took a shower. (expression of confusion at the randomness of this question) Then I got my hair and makeup done, and then I went to the Oscars.

If you like, you can see a video of the interview by clicking Play below. As you can see from the preview, Lawrence’s facial expressions play an important role.

Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.

This young woman is not a creation of anyone’s PR machine

Media training in evidence? Not much.

Polished, crafted sound bites in response to the dumb predictable questions? None.

The expected bright, shiny mask most celebrities wear? Not here.

She was asked a bunch of silly questions and she gave honest, silly answers.

There are a couple of steps you can copy here to bring to your own social media networking … and start using it to actually move your marketing and your business forward.

Step one, do some damned good work. The woman didn’t get an Oscar for stumbling up the stairs, she won it for excelling at her craft in the film Silver Linings Playbook.

Step two, get over yourself. If an actual Hollywood movie star can quit taking herself so seriously, so can you.

You don’t have to go out of your way to be a train wreck, but you also don’t have to pretend to be some mythical perfect person who has their act completely together.

To be a successful web publisher, it helps to be a human being

Real celebrities have to answer silly questions for magazine and television interviews. Why? Because it helps grow their audience. When the audience feels like they know an actor, they’ll make a point of seeing projects that actor is involved in.

It works the same for you and me, but instead of paparazzi, we have social media accounts. (This is, trust me, one of the very few advantages of being internet famous over the real kind of famous.)

Content publishers spend time in social media for the same reason actors go on press junkets — it builds our relationship with our audience. It lets people get a sense of who we are.

And who stands out in the social networking game?

People who do excellent work (in whatever your realm might happen to be) but don’t put on fake, stiff personas that they think are “professional.”

To quote Paul Newman,

Always take the work seriously. Never take yourself seriously.

Be a human being. Stop trying so hard to be cool or clever or impressive.

Your mom had it right all along. It’s much cooler, cleverer, and more impressive to be yourself.

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Reader Comments (37)

  1. says

    Most of us find it quite unnerving being with people who are just that little bit too professional, slick and cool. Instead, we prefer to be with people who make mistakes, just like we all do , and are, well … human rather than robots.

    Much the same goes for the people we hang around with online.

    In other words, Sonia, I totally agree with you.

  2. says

    How true! In the uber competitive online environment the one thing you can take to the bank to differentiate your business from others in your space is — YOU!

    • says

      Small businesses often miss that — they get caught up in trying to look bigger than they are, and they pass up a great advantage that’s inherently non-copyable. (I’m sure that’s really a word.)

  3. says

    I didn’t watch the Oscars but it was fun watching that video. It is just so genuine and she doesn’t hold anything back. The problem with it though, is that most people react poorly to it in actual interactions in person because it’s just so unexpected. I rarely take myself seriously and it seems like a curveball to most people’s usual interactions so they don’t know how to act because they have their face on.

    However, it does translate well to an online personality because VOICE is what really matters. If it can show through your writing and the way you engage in social media, people will love you for it.

    • says

      It does throw a curveball and not everyone is comfortable, but both of those can be an advantage. :) Agree that this kind of don’t-take-yourself-so-seriously attitude is particularly well suited to the online world.

  4. says

    Such great advice Sonia. When I first saw that video of Jennifer Lawrence, it immediately made me like her more for exactly the reasons you articulated. Of course, I wasn’t clever enough to bring it into the context of web publishing advice, but that’s why you’re one of the best. :-) Great post. Pertinent, timely, and videos of Jennifer Lawrence make any copy pop just a little bit brighter.

  5. says

    Sonia “If an actual Hollywood movie star can quit taking herself so seriously, so can you.” just summed it up so perfectly.

    Thank you for sharing, I didn’t even follow any of the news after the Oscars other than to see who won. That interview with Jennifer made it worth while and was so endearing.

  6. says

    This brings up a buzzword is social media: Authenticity. Jennifer was authentic, and we loved her for it.

    She has commented before that perhaps she needs more media training. There’s a nice balance between professional and over-trained. Her response to the question about whether or not she fears she’s peaked was a good one. We saw humour and emotion and we saw her be flustered. It was charming.

  7. says

    Yep, I need to get over myself. We are real human beings, so we need to connect as real human beings. Love your brilliant comparison to the “famous” and how we can learn from them in order to build a loyal audience. I think I’ll go trip up some stairs now…(This seems to happen quite naturally. I really don’t even have to try.) :-)

  8. says

    Hi Sonia,

    I did not watch the Oscars either. But thank you for the funny, awesome video and a great post. Way too many people take themselves too seriously and often, it projects itself as arrogance. A little humility goes a long way.

    I strive to be myself (really who else should I be?) and I find that I am building good relationship with my readers and my followers. There are people who will like me and my work and there will be people who will not. I am not going to change who I am and what I represent to please the naysayers.

    Thanks for sharing!


  9. says

    I feel comfortable when communicating with my friends because I know we have a lot in common, I know they are much like me. I would’t feel comfortable talking to someone I absolutely do not know, someone how tries to show me how perfect he is and how not perfect I am. Moreover, I wouldn’t like this person from a very beginning. The same with your audience. People feel much more better knowing that someone just like they are, someone who can make mistakes, be serious or silly is running the account they are following. You need to be a useful friend to your audience, not some kind of an idol. There are enough idols already, friend is what audience is searching for, so you need to be one. Really good one.

  10. says

    One word for this…..refreshing. I do wonder about some of the questions some times and she was just very authentic. Loved it!! I admit that sometimes I do have the ‘worry’ of saying the right thing at the right time. But, I’ve committed myself to being….well…..myself!

  11. says

    Hello and thank you for such an eye opener article.
    You know sometimes what happens on the internet, is that we cannot see each other and so there is a mask of pretense, but I know something that being real and who we are will always work. We are human and in the reality of it all, we are all the same.
    Thank you again

  12. says

    Just be yourself. I live by that motto. Who cares if you make a fool of yourself sometimes, or others. That’s part of being human. Being a good human is being about to laugh it off, continue on, and not let it define you. It will happen again, so why worry so much about it.

  13. says

    I saw the title and thought this would be a good post, then read it and found it to be a great one! You are right in that the best stars don’t try to be stars, they work hard to be the best versions of themselves.

  14. says

    So she stumbled going up the steps in a huge marshmallow of a dress and some idiot reporter decides to ask her how she felt. She was perfect her response was perfect. She does come across as very natural just like she did in the movie. She is a darling of social media because she is real. Kardashians take note!

  15. says

    This is a great post. It’s really easy to take yourself too seriously and be overly “professional” when that turns off people more than it helps. Being a real person that people like can go a long way, and people like people who are like themselves, i.e. ones that aren’t perfect. Not sure if I’m the best at this in practice, but I love the advice of not taking oneself too seriously (although I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “oneself” in a sentence before…).

  16. says

    I started following Copyblogger via Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing blog. The reason I like her and the reason I like Copyblogger is because I feel a connection with real “warts and all” people and not sales hustlers counting their keywords and speaking with authority they don’t really have.

  17. says

    Love this post. Jennifer Lawrence is too awesome! “So how did you get ready today?” Hahahaha!

    Good Paul Newman quote. I’m going to have to write that one down.

  18. says

    I am always just being myself and being silly on my blog and that’s one thing people like about me. Being real is necessary for me. I spent too many years putting on the highly polished image face for everyone. That mask hurts! Ha ha.

  19. says

    Great post Sonia, Always behaving like a pro is not effective all the times . Showing your real self on your blog and online business definitely help to establish yourself as brand and stand out in the crowd

  20. says

    Loved the video! I think it’s easier to relate to people when they don’t try too hard to be liked by others. Being authentic has a charm of its own, especially in a world where more and more people pretend to be perfect or someone who they are not!

  21. says

    Good one Sonia,

    Thanks for covering the Oscars if it wasn’t for this post I would have never known anything about this story.

    Good point though.

    People connect with the human ie the error prone side of ourselves in each other. The real us minus the ego.

    Isn’t this why politicians are so unpopular.
    Because they’re so fake.

  22. says

    I think part of being yourself is writing as if you are writing for your friends.
    I saw a clip from one Jennifer Lawrence interview and Jack Nicholson, one of the biggest movie stars of all times, was teasing her a little, and she was unflappable. She spoke to him as if it was a friend she has known forever. This further endeared me to her and since, the word “authenticity” pops into my head now when I thing of her.

  23. says

    It takes a lot of courage to be YOU in real life and online! Most people avoid being themselves because they can’t handle criticism and rejection. These are like poison. But it’s important to understand that YOU are not being rejected or criticized; it’s your writing. Everyone has an opinion. Take comments and social media posts with a grain of salt. It’s not the end of the world. :)

    *Jennifer is a great actress who commits to a role 100%. It works. She won the Oscar.

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