How to Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: Lessons from The Breakfast Club

How to Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: Lessons From The Breakfast Club


The secret to utilizing social media effectively as a business leader is to think like the kids from The Breakfast Club. That’s right. The 1985 comedy-drama film by John Hughes about a disparate group of high school students stuck in detention on a Saturday holds the key to enhancing your online brand as a business leader in your field. You’re probably thinking that sounds a little crazy…clearly Sixteen Candles holds the keys to growing your online leadership role. You’d be wrong. It’s The Breakfast Club.

The high school students in The Breakfast Club are archetypes for the roles people play while growing into and discovering who they are as teenagers. They have pigeonholed themselves and the others as simply, a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Spoiler: in the end they learn that each one shares important traits with all of the others. And that’s what it takes to be a social media business leader. Let’s break it down.

How to Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: Lessons From The Breakfast Club

The Brain

Share your expertise and insights. Having experience in your field gives you a unique perspective on things happening in your industry and in the world at large. Offer your opinion on current trends. Talk about the challenges of past projects and how you overcame them. Share info that you wish someone had shared with you when you were just starting out. Use your computer skills to create Kelly LeBrock...oh, wait. Wrong movie.


The Athlete

Using social media effectively doesn’t always come naturally. You’ll need to train and practice. The kind of posts you think will resonate with your audience might not. Posting content is not enough. You have to analyze your post’s performance. Did people engage, like, or share? Do your followers respond better to your personal posts or your industry ones? See what works and what doesn’t. You’ll need to keep analyzing and adjusting your strategy, like trying a new wrestling hold.


The Basket Case

Just be yourself. Share things about yourself that aren’t just industry related. The more real and honest you are, the more people will trust and value you. You may be in the event management space but have a real love of 80s movies. Don’t be afraid to write a blog tying those two things together. I bet it would be hilarious AND informative.


The Princess

I hate to say it, but social media is a bit of a popularity contest. But unlike a high school prom queen, you’ll need to make it less about you and more about others. Connect and engage. Comment and like. There’s no magic number of likes or comments that will help your grow your following. Authenticity is the key. If someone’s posts make you smile, like it. If a follower asks you a question, answer honestly.  Be social, and you might just win Judd Nelson’s cynical heart at the end.


The Criminal

Don’t steal exactly, but see what others in your space are doing right and try it. Examine what social media trends are being successfully utilized in other industries and rework them to fit into your niche. Do posts of cute dogs with clever quotes about your industry get shared a lot? Do videos perform better than still images? When you find a trend or technique that produces great engagement, fist pump the air and hold it for a few seconds to celebrate.


Growing your online brand as a social media business leader is as easy as remembering The Breakfast Club. You can’t just post in simplest terms or be the most convenient definition of a social media leader. You have to be a bit of a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question on how to be a business leader on social media?


Stay tuned for our guide on how to master LinkedIn like John McClane in Die Hard.

About the Author

Amy Kelley

Amy is the Global Digital Content Marketing Editor at GES. With a strong background in content marketing, social media, and communications, she is a passionate writer and self-confessed word geek. She is also the founder of a non-profit and a health and wellness online community.

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