The Business Case for Social Media Mystery

Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. I doubt he would be on Twitter. Or would he, baby?

Even if you were not caught up in the Royal Wedding frenzy, if you were a breathing human being you couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of the event this week.

In a world of connection, transparency, ubiquitous communication, and an emphasis on being “humanized,” isn’t it interesting that at least for a week, the world’s biggest brand was characterized by being aloof, detached, and elite? This struck me as I watched a demonstration on the various nuances of the royal curtsy.

I think there is something to be said for mystery.   Apple falls into this regal category too, don’t they? No social media presence, an operation cloaked in secrecy, dominated by a black-clad leader who is not exactly an open book.  Seems to work for them.

For many premium products, a social connection might even work against the brand.  I would probably fall over if I walked into a Maserati showroom and saw “follow me on Twitter” pasted to the car.

I am probably the anti-mystery man. The other day, somebody said to me “You seem to be everywhere.”

This is not an intentional, proactive strategy on my part, but when somebody asks me for an interview or a blog contribution, my attitude is “what the heck?” And I have been doing a lot of interviews! So maybe I am on the brink of over-exposure and a back-lash?

At the end of the day, it gets back to strategy doesn’t it? It would be very uncomfortable for me to switch direction and be inaccessible, elitist, and aloof. It’s inconsistent with my personality, and by extension, my brand. I’m helpful. I’m accessible. That’s the way I was before the social web and the way I will be after the social web.

But there is a place for scarcity and mystery, isn’t there?   I wonder … is having an air of mystery and participation in the social web mutually exclusive? What do you think? Are there any exclusive or “mysterious brands” that work on the web? What about you and your brand? Do you even think about this subject of exposure?

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