What Community Managers Can Learn from the Sons of Anarchy


The boys of Charming are back for a final ride in the hit FX show, Sons of Anarchy. If you’re like me, this show has ripped out your soul and held it captive for seven seasons. Between fits of rage and tears, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from a motorcycle gang (besides learning how to refrain from throwing things at the TV!). Take note community managers, here’s how you can be a social media maverick and ride to glory.

1. Tell an amazing story.

Kurt Sutter, the show’s creator, knows how to weave a story that captivates and compels people to engage on social. As community managers, we can get in content ruts. Before you know it, you are posting from the same content buckets and your story has gone stale (or even non-existent). Break the mold and take some (calculated) risks. What story can you tell that will make people want to join your motorcycle club, er, brand?

2. Go to church.

Ok, if you don’t watch the show (shame on you), this means super-secret meeting time with your club where you get to bang a gavel like a boss after decisions are made. Go to church at least once a month with coworkers outside of your brand to ensure fresh ideas are coming in. Take a vote to ensure you aren’t becoming a self-serving leader. That would be President in MC talk, just so you know.

3. Don’t act on impulse.

Bad things happen when you act on impulse, like suddenly deciding that stabbing someone with a grilling fork is good idea or using a hashtag without researching it first (looking at you, DiGiorno).

4. Don’t put all your resources in guns one idea.

It is the nature of our business—it’s easy to jump on trends and lose sight of the big picture. Whether it’s a weird, made-up holiday or celebrity gossip, consider all your options before throwing your time, funds and other resources into one idea. That oddball holiday may not even trend, so you better have a stellar backup plan for your client.

5. Have a thick skin.

There’s no crying in a motorcycle club, and there’s definitely no crying in social media. Don’t let that scathing comment or disturbing photo ruin your day. Smile, react and move on. You can plot revenge in your head for fun later, if it pleases you.

6. Do your recon.

Would you show up to an abandoned warehouse to meet a rival MC without doing some recon first? Nope. Writing content and developing programs should involve a lot of research. You should be able to speak intelligently about the reasons behind your ideas. Whether it’s reading about the latest research on social media psychology, staying on top of industry news or breaking down your analytics, develop well-supported theories to gain the trust and approval of your client…and win the day, of course!

Take a page from the Sons of Anarchy playbook and take your skills to the next level. Go buy a gavel and ride to community management glory! I personally plan on making a (vegan) leather cut with Ignite Social Media on the back to wear while I ride around on my bicycle.

What social media lessons have you learned from your favorite show?

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