Call him crazy, call him a fad, but Charlie Sheen has been able to leverage social media to stick it to the man. Social has done two things for Charlie – 1. It has provided him a platform to tell his story after the traditional news segment has ended, and 2. It has  created new news for Charlie so he can continue to get airtime (ie) his record Twitter follower success – 1 million followers in 24 hours.

Ten years ago it is quite possible that Charlie Sheen would have had his story played out over a few days and we would have moved on to another celebrity tragedy, but in today’s world where social media gives a platform for anyone to have a voice, Charlie is stretching his rant and raves out as long as possible. Who knows…Sheen’s Corner on UStream may end up getting just as many views as Two and a Half Men one day. Perhaps it already has.

The Sheen ordeal is an important reminder that Social Media is a powerful tool which allows you to tell your story in your own words to an enormous number of people.   As marketers, you may never have a chance to grab the spotlight in the exact same way Sheen is doing so now, but there are lessons to be learned.

1. Content is king. Be interesting, slightly unpredictable, creative and fun. #tigerblood

2. Seize the moment. If there’s a time when large amounts of people are talking or thinking about your brand, jump in on it and have a voice. It is better to lead the conversation then let others talk about you behind your back.

3. When traditional media puts up a wall – you can’t get a reporter to call back, or you’ve tapped out all your appearances, interview ops -look to social to create new news or to start your own “news” channel.

4. Try to get traditional and social media to work together to really amplify your message.  (ie) CNN promotes your Twitter handle, and you promote your CNN apperance on Twitter.

Who knows how this will end for Charlie.  Good or bad, thanks to social media and the lack of a PR person, he’s going out guns blazing, and something tells me people kind of respect him for it.

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