The relationship between the TV industry and the internet is a complicated one. In some sense, it’s the internet that’s zapped hundreds of millions of viewers from the cable television industry and given rise to the world of online streaming. In another sense, it’s the internet that’s led to the viral popularity of some of the biggest shows in the history of television. And as a writer, producer, or director, learning how to leverage this latter aspect could be the difference in your show making a loud thud versus becoming the next hot trend in entertainment.
The Influence of Social Media Engagement on TV Show Success
According to an early study on the relationship between social media engagement and TV show success, there are three specific ways the former impacts the latter:
1. Content producers use social media to influence audience tune-in and maximize their advertising revenue.
2. TV audience viewers interact with their peers (and fellow viewers) on social media, which creates a virality factor among popular shows.
3. Social media creates a unique platform where viewers can interact directly with producers and directors. This fosters valuable feedback that may be used to optimize the direction the show takes.
Producers who take social media seriously can use each of these three factors to their show’s benefit. It’s simply a matter of execution.
Lessons in Maximizing Social Media Engagement From Vince Gilligan
When used strategically, social media can be catalytic in a show’s popularity and success. The right content can produce backlinks and as more eyeballs see this content across the web, viewership predictably rises. But in order to win with social media, producers must be strategic. Check out, for example, Income Artist reviewed Social Boost you can try And if there’s one person who knows how to strategically leverage social media as a tool for building a rabid and loyal viewership, it’s Breaking Bad creator, writer, producer, and director, Vince Gilligan.
In the past, Gilligan has been an outspoken advocate for taking social media into account. Here are some takeaways from past interviews and comments he’s made about the topic.
- Don’t Underestimate Your Audience
One of the biggest mistakes producers make with their shows (and their promotion of the show) is to dumb things down to make things more digestible for viewers. But this is a major misstep.
“To assume the audience is less smart than I am would be really short sighted, really dumb,” Gilligan says. “Assume the audience is smarter than you are, and they will hold you in good stead.”
Complexity breeds curiosity – and it’s curiosity that draws attention on social media. Embrace unconventional thinking and never underestimate your audience’s ability to engage with your train of thought.
- Master the Art of Storytelling
Gilligan believes that TV and marketing have a lot in common. For one, they’re both very visual mediums. You have to think graphically in order to be successful with either.
As you shape your marketing strategy, lean into your storytelling strengths and create campaigns that pull people in. You can do this by developing magnetic visuals that pique curiosity and compel people to find out more.
Once your show becomes popular with a niche audience, memes become a great way to share inside jokes and humor as it pertains to the show. The beauty of memes is that they’re easy to create and highly viral. Eventually, you won’t even have to create your own. Your fans will do it for you.
- Create a Marketing Arm of Your Team
Gilligan has always been a masterful writer. But he also understands the importance of collaboration. Some of his best works – including Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul – have both involved collaborative efforts with writing teams. He’s also had people on his staff who are entirely responsible for digital marketing and social media.
If possible, you want a marketing arm of your team. And it can be very helpful if one of your writers has a role on this team. This ensures consistency and integrity throughout your marketing.
Leveraging Social Media to the Fullest
Social media is not a magic bullet that promises to take your shows to the top of the charts. It is, however, a proven ally for producers who are serious about digital marketing and online promotion. By learning to use it appropriately, you can expect to see some rather significant results over time.