6 Winning Social Strategies You Can Steal From Netflix

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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UzbqXrrW3A

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. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDZuCwfH1a_/

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 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-sff28HgSR/

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 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CD1rkflny24/

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!

5 Takeaways From How Brands Celebrated Juneteenth On Social Media

Juneteenth was first celebrated as a holiday in Austin in 1867, and was first officially recognized as a state holiday by Texas in 1980. However, the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests advocating for social justice have raised multicultural awareness of Juneteenth to an unprecedented extent this year. 

This sea change is quantifiable at a brand level. For instance on June 19, 2020, 352 of 1,100 social media posts shared by S&P 500 brands were Juneteenth related. In comparison on June 19, 2019 only 4 out of 1,551 posts shared by S&P 500 brands on social media mentioned Juneteenth. There were also noticeably less posts this year than last, as brands have pulled back on sharing their usual content to dedicate space for supporting racial justice.

While there’s no pre-existing playbook for what type of messaging around the holiday resonates with audiences we were able to identify 5 key takeaways from what Juneteenth brand content connected the best this year. 

Brands That Averaged The Most Responses To Their Juneteenth Social Media Posts

RankBrandAverage Volume Of Responses To Juneteenth Related Posts# of Juneteenth Related PostsExamples
1NFL52,8016Sample Post
2NBA34,90650Sample Post
3Facebook30,0428Sample Post
4Sephora22,1851Sample Post
5Netflix17,9151Sample Post
6Ulta Beauty14,9712Sample Post
7Old Navy12,8442Sample Post
8US Navy10,8303Sample Post
9Delta Air Lines8,3141Sample Post
10Twitter6,2151Sample Post

Methodology: Looks at the average numbers of social media content responses on posts by either S&P 500 Brands or Top Advertisers (485 brands) mentioning Juneteenth on June 19, 2020. ListenFirst Content Responses measure the Likes, Shares, Comments, and Retweets a post gets on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

Insight #1: Sports Leagues Generated The Most Responses To Their Juneteenth Posts 

On June 19, 2020, the NFL was the brand that generated the most response to its Juneteenth related social media posts, with those 6 posts receiving on average 52,801 responses.  Meanwhile the NBA had the second highest total, with its amazing 50 Juneteenth related social media posts shared on the day averaging 34,906 responses. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBnuSjVg7iE/

The NFL announced that it would be shutting down league offices in commemoration of Juneteenth while the NBA highlighted the social justice protesting efforts of its players, among its many other Juneteenth related posts. Athletes like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and Stephen Jackson have been at the forefront of speaking out against police brutality, and their activism lends authority to the leagues they’re associated with. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBnvxbLATGH/

Any brand can speak to Juneteenth and events that speak to social justice in general, but for the audience to pay attention at any scale, that needs to be part of a longer term conversation. 

Insight #2: It’s Okay To Explain What Juneteenth Is 

When brands post about Independence Day, there’s no need to explain what the Declaration of Independence was. Similarly, posting about Thanksgiving doesn’t require a historic recap about Pilgrims. However, when a lesser known holiday becomes more prominent, it’s okay for brands to help fill in the blanks because much of the audience is hearing these facts for the first time.

This year many brands stood out in talking about Juneteenth just by explaining the basics. For instance, Facebook received 291,566 responses on a post explaining how the holiday commemorates how enslaved people in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, while also offering 19 ways to celebrate. Meanwhile Microsoft received 4,652 responses on a Twitter thread fleshing out the history of the holiday while also offering resource ideas for further learning.    

While it’s a serious subject, comedy can still be deployed in those explanations. For example, Netflix generated 17,915 responses on a Tweet that started a thread explaining Juneteenth that used The Office’s Michael Scott’s to illustrate how many white Americans think slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln before explaining the more complicated actual answer.

Insight #3:  Use Your Platform to Amplify Black Voices

Due to what it’s commemorating, Juneteenth is a holiday where the social media audience needs to hear from Black voices not allies, and some of the most successful brands in posting about Juneteenth made sure that’s exactly what the messaging was. Social media platforms themselves understood that point as Twitter shared a Twitter Voice Note from Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi on why Juneteenth is especially meaningful this year which generated 6,215 responses. Meanwhile Facebook received 5,342 responses on a video of the cast of Black-ish being interviewed about their musical Juneteenth themed episode.

Other notable examples include Sephora using Instagram Live for a conversation with Black activists, scholars, and partners; the announcement of which generated 22,185 responses, while Maybelline received 18,453 responses on a post announcing a Instagram Live event where a makeup artist would be offering up makeup tips for deeper skin tones.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBn51FTFV2F/

Insight #4: Real Holidays Mean Time Off 

Did you know National Hot Dog Day is July 22? You probably would if you were getting the day off for it. There are plenty of fun and frivolous holidays that don’t merit getting a paid vacation day, but the ending of slavery in this country was an immeasurably important moment in our nation’s history that deserves more reflection than just sharing a GIF.

Many brands reaffirmed the importance of Juneteenth by sharing on social media how they’re giving their employees the day off for the holiday. For example, Adobe received 380 responses to a Tweet announcing its employees would be out of the office for Juneteenth to take time for reflection and advocacy while BB&T Bank announced it was closing at 2pm on Juneteenth in a Facebook post that received 10,382 responses. U.S. Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank are other financial institutions that closed early for the holiday.

https://www.facebook.com/160995133980392/posts/3076283812451495

ListenFirst also gave our employees Juneteenth off so our team could commemorate Black history and culture through celebration, education, and reflection.

Insight #5: Brands Used The Opportunity To Share Additional Relevant Resources

https://www.facebook.com/9465008123/posts/10157997493583124

The abolition of slavery didn’t magically erase racial inequlity in this country and many brands used the occasion of Juneteenth to share additional content and resources that spoke either to that struggle and/or provided a better understanding of the Black experience in America. For example, Amazon received 9,024 responses on a Facebook post that shared online learning tools and resources, including Black employee recommendations on films, TV shows, and books. Similarly, Hulu generated 5,389 responses on its Juneteenth watchlist while Gerber got 1,128 responses on a Facebook post showcasing amazing accounts featuring Black educators, mothers, and creators.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBoCK8chdlZ/

Conclusion

While Juneteenth might be a new topic for brands, it is a subject that the social media audience was receptive to talking about. For example on June 19, 2020 S&P 500 brands averaged 2,473 responses to their Juneteenth related posts compared to an average of 2,208 responses per post so far this year. Hopefully this enthusiasm will lead to even more brand engagement around Juneteenth next year.