Game of Thrones wrapped up its sixth season at the end of June and fans everywhere are already beginning their countdowns for the season 7 premiere. GoT has quickly become a show with a cult-like following and we admit to being a part of the intense fandom. Turns out that the hit HBO series has more to offer than hours and hours of fantasy-filled entertainment – GoT is a marketer’s gold mine too.
Take the show’s current social media marketing efforts. They stand as a clear indicator that an effective marketing strategy can propel a great show to even higher levels of virality, according to Business 2 Community contributor Ashwini Pai. The GoT accounts have an astounding number of followers across platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:
[icon name=”facebook” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] 17 million Facebook fans
[icon name=”twitter” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Over 3 million Twitter followers
[icon name=”instagram” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Nearly 2 million followers on Instagram
[icon name=”vine” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] More than 200k Vine followers
Social media gives businesses (or in this case – shows) the chance to engage with their loyal fan bases on a closer level and potentially attract new brand advocates. For GoT in particular, social media has become a community where fans can discuss theories, express their excitement and share their thoughts with friends. While this translates a little differently for SMBs, the general advantage of social media remains the same: It is an accessible platform for your customers to engage with you, your products and your services.
As mentioned above, GoT excels in this arena.
So, we decided to compile a list of the best social media lessons we have taken away from Game of Thrones and its marketing efforts.
1. Use those images
According to Pai, tweets with photos are retweeted 35 percent more than those without and videos drive a retweet increase of 28 percent. If you take a look at the GoT Twitter page it’s filled with GIFs, sneak preview videos and images – all of which garner hundreds of retweets and thousands of favorites.
Small businesses can take a page out of the GoT marketing book and increase their use of images, videos and overall visual content. Leveraging this kind of content can even help with sales. Did you know that 52 percent of consumers say watching product videos makes them more confident in their purchasing decisions?
Try including some behind-the-scenes videos of your team. Interview your customers. Take pictures of your next business event. Create an infographic with useful information. These types of visuals can up your social media game and have the added benefit of being repurposed as content for your other marketing platforms.
2. Keep up with the trends
Game of Thrones is a trend in itself. In fact, the show is so popular that one U.K. company (+rehabstudios) has granted its employees half days on GoT premiere days to prevent office spoilers, reported contributor Kate Prince in a separate Business 2 Community article.
GoT is only one example of a hot topic in pop culture that has an intense fandom. Marketers should use current trends to their advantage as an opening into conversation with their audiences. Try creating some content around season premieres or relate a hit song to one of your products. Consumers love creative and engaging content so give it a try.
Just be careful your trend is ACTUALLY a trend, explained Prince. There are few things more embarrassing on social media than hopping on a trend too late and looking outdated. Or referencing a trend and completely missing the mark. Keep it relevant but don’t force it – remember authenticity is key with younger audiences in particular.
3. Think outside the box
It may seem cliched in the realm of marketing advice but being original and creative is key. Consumers want genuine and engaging content. In a sea of marketing material, the only way to stand out is by thinking outside the box. This doesn’t have to involve pricey tactics or overly strenuous efforts, it can be simple things that your competitors haven’t been using.
Take GoT’s Facebook content for example. The marketing team takes advantage of quizzes to engage audiences via their social media accounts, according to Pai. This type of content sparks a promising amount of comments from users and keeps them entertained while still interacting with marketing content – the ultimate formula for sharing and virality.
Generally, quizzes are divided into two different categories:
- Knowledge application: How well do you know your GoT family trees? Can you identify which GoT character said these lines?
- Personality: Which GoT character are you most like? Which one of Khaleesi’s dragons is your spirit animal? Which GoT city should you be living in?
Try creating fun and creative quizzes related to your business. This will likely generate a lot of shares and ample opportunity to interact with your customers via the comments section. Ask them to share their results with their friends or on other platforms. Quizzes are only one example of taking your marketing materials out of the standard boxes – get inventive and you’ll surely reap the benefits.
4. Encourage employee sharing
The GoT cast plays a big role in the show’s social media presence. Nearly all of the major cast members are active on various platforms and make themselves highly accessible to fans, explained Pai. They give behind-the-scenes access to their followers and even interact amongst one another. This kind of extended marketing is extremely effective for small businesses.
According to Salesforce, employees tend to have 10 times more followers than their companies and when they share brand posts those materials have a 561 percent farther reach than when the content is simply posted on the official business social page.
Capitalize on this kind of exposure. Encourage employees to share your content on their personal pages, offer them up opportunities to create their own content. Make the sharing a game and award prizes to the biggest contributors! Whatever the tactic, take a tip from GoT and get your employees involved outside of the work sphere.