Between 1995 -1998, back when the audience still primarily watched TV live, the most effective way to get the audience to sample a new show was to air it Thursday night on NBC, sandwiched between new episodes of Friends and Seinfeld. Meanwhile in a world of streaming and time shifted viewership, the 2020 equivalent of the best way to raise awareness around a new TV show is probably Netflix posting about it on social media.
It would be hard to overemphasize how dominant Netflix is on social media. They have 121 million fans or followers on social media, while between January – September 2020, 97 of the top 100 posts by TV Networks or Streamers that generated the most responses were posted by Netflix.
In order to help other networks and streaming platforms learn from Netflix’s success, here are the top 6 takeaways ListenFirst found analyzing Netflix’s social media strategy.
1. Netflix Teaches Us Your Platform/Network Is The Brand That Needs To Be Promoted
On social media, Netflix takes a monolithic approach, focusing on promoting their main social media accounts and not trying to appeal to every different audience segment separately. In fact in most cases, Netflix doesn’t even create social media profiles for their individual new shows and movies.
For instance, the Netflix movie Enola Holmes doesn’t have its own social media accounts, but awareness of the project grew through Netflix’s main social media accounts, with the official trailer to Enola Holmes generated 388,619 responses, and a video of the film’s stars trying to decipher Victorian slang received 148,209 responses.
New projects to promote will come and go, but if networks and streaming platforms focus on building their own brand loyalty on social media, as opposed to around a specific show or film, there will be a larger audience to market all your content to.
2. Don’t Be Too Thirsty. Leave A Little Mystery To Your Posts
The default assumption when a network or streamer promotes a show on social media is you need to explain what’s the name of the show you’re promoting. However Netflix has repeatedly proven that incorrect, as some of their most successful posts in the past year fall squarely into the “you either get it or you don’t” category.
For instance, in an Instagram gallery that generated 1,162,865 responses Netflix asked which love interest fans preferred, such as showing a picture of both Noah or Marco from The Kissing Booth 2 but with no text identifying the show. Or how Netflix shared an Instagram gallery that received 1,169,871 responses showing the Stranger Things cast at the SAG Awards without the show being identified.
If the audience is cool enough to understand the reference, they’re more likely to leave a Like or Comment as a wink; and if they don’t understand, curiosity will lead to further research.
3. Embrace Foreign Content Audio
Netflix is currently available in 35 languages and some of Netflix’s best performing posts on their main English language channels have actually emphasized foreign language content. For example, the Netflix post that generated the most responses between January – September was a video on Instagram that received 1,917,159 responses, highlighting a character’s unique laugh from the Spanish language hit Money Heist. Meanwhile, a YouTube video showing what Stranger Things sounds like dubbed in other languages received 119,851 responses.
If you find clever ways to highlight foreign language content, it’s still going to connect with an English speaking audience.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Clap Back On Twitter
Between January through September 2020, Netflix’s second most popular Tweet with 798,166 responses was a reply to a user sharing a meme insinuating that Netflix put too many gay characters on their shows. Netflix responded, “sorry you have yet to realize that every gay person is very necessary.” The social media audience is extremely supportive of brands that take a stand against bigotry.
5. The Audience Likes Themed Posts That Are Stupid Fun
An Instagram gallery showing Netflix characters in overalls generated 588,032 responses. Meanwhile an Instagram gallery of photos of Netflix actors with their cats, having no caption other than “meow“, did even better, generating 851,311 responses. The key to making successful Instagram galleries is finding a simple, fun idea and not complicating it.
6. Stick After-Show Type Content On YouTube For Free
Popularized by AMC’s Talking The Dead which started in 2011 as a companion show to The Walking Dead, the after-show concept has taken off in recent years. Netflix has its own version and a big part of what sets I Like to Watch with drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova apart is instead of being hidden behind a paywall, the show is posted directly on YouTube. This distribution model has been extremely successful, for instance their episode talking about the Netflix show Sex, Explained generated 76,189 responses on YouTube and 75,684 responses for the episode about Netflix’s Spinning Out.
Considering after-shows are inherently promotional tools, there’s only upside in posting them for free on social media.
Want to learn more secrets behind how Netflix and other industry leaders are dominating on social media? Request a ListenFirst demo today!