3 Social Media Lessons from House of Cards

Social media, Frank Underwood, House of Cards
Meet Frank Underwood, the man goes from VP to POTUS in 12 episodes of House of Cards.

I just finished Season 2 of “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey (as Francis J. Underwood), Robin Wright (Claire Underwood), and the faithful foot soldier Michael Scott (Doug Stamper). As a social media strategist, I immediately saw parallels between my work and Francis Underwood’s “analytical” approach to politics. Here are three lessons to apply in your next social media campaign:

  1. Always have a plan.

“It’s not the beginning of the story that I fear. It’s not knowing how it will end.” – Frank Underwood

In Season 1, Frank Underwood was a lowly public official from Gaffney, South Carolina. In Season 2, Underwood ascends from Congressman to President in 12 episodes. The maniacal former House Majority Whip coldly calculated every single detail of his rise.

Social media application: Likewise social media professionals should  plan, reiterate, and execute throughout campaigns.

2. Form alliances.

“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.” – Frank Underwood

Partnership is a key element of successful campaign, but more generally, most major brands. When Target hired Isaac Mizrahi to revive their flagging women’s clothing line, both parties had skin in the game. Target wanted to generate more revenue and the designer had a reputation to uphold.

Social media application: In House of Cards, Frank Underwood always aware of his surroundings.  The next time you develop a social media strategy consider who are your peers, allies and antagonists. You can use their disparate interests to get what you want.

3. Take care of your team.

“Even Achilles was only as strong as his heel.” – Frank Underwood

Like a true Southerner, Frank Underwood repays fealty with favors. In Season 2 of House of Cards the then-Vice President pulls out all of the stops on his road to the White House. Along the way, Underwood repairs his marriage, ramps up his PR efforts, consoles his ax-man Doug Stamper, and neutralizes Raymond Tusk, his biggest road block to the presidency.

Social media application: Campaigns are not one-time affairs. After you execute your flawless plan, be sure to thank those who made it possible. More importantly, reward your biggest advocates for you will need them again some day.


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