How To Market A TV Show On Social Media

Simon Pilkington

April 19, 2020

Simon Pilkington

April 19, 2020

The streaming wars are on. With the huge demand for new series, and widespread binge watching worldwide, streaming platforms are commissioning more shows and movies than ever before.  What was once exclusive to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood itself, is experiencing the ever creeping presence of Silicon Valley tech giants. So let’s face it, Brad Pitt is going to have to get used to bumping into Google’s head of search at red carpet events.  Elon Musk and Grimes anyone?

Social media has become, hands-down, the most effective marketing tool to ignite and sustain the buzz around a new TV series.  Not to mention that so much trending social media content is driven by television in the first place.

In this article, using among others some examples of Hello Social’s campaigns for the likes of Amazon Prime Video, we’re sharing some essential tips on marketing your TV show or movie for the big and small screen.

 

Design content specifically for social media

It might seem like an obvious place to start, but many TV shows try to market on social using only content lifted from the show or out-of-home channels.  The reality is that social media platforms are a whole different ball game, with their own rules, and most OOH produced content won’t pack the same punch on social.

Understanding that online both space and attention spans are limited means that you have to redesign your creatives to look great across devices and stand out among the intense competition of specialist content producers, influencers and your audiences’ friends and family.

Aside from designing posts and ads for the correct aspect ratios, it’s also about authenticity and connection with your audience.  This means that sometimes an image that is more atmospheric and sparks excitement on a billboard, can seem distant and less engaging on a smaller scale.

create content just for social

While the difference may seem subtle, the above example shows how social media requires a more intimate approach to design than other channels.  It’s all about capturing your audience's attention on a small screen, so take a critical look at your creative and ask whether a one size fits all approach is really wise.

 

Bring your marketing up to date with what’s trending now

Production times are long, and most TV shows will be created at least a year before their release.  That means that all of the behind the scenes content, and months of marketing preparation needs to stand the test of time.

Fortunately social media is a great channel to be reactive and spontaneous.  Producing social content can be done quickly and comparatively cheaply to other channels, providing the perfect platform to bring your communications up to date with what is trending at the time of your actual release.

This can also extend after the show is aired, and content can be created based on the social media buzz around the show.

During our campaign for The Test for Amazon Prime Video, we started to notice that fans had particularly picked up on the bromance between Marnus Labuschagne and Tim Paine.  Thanks to some quick moves from our content production team we were able to respond with a series of “Bromance Games”, testing the knowledge of the team’s most besotted besties.

 

Create GIFs and memes for viral reach

Word of mouth and social media sharing are how series get spread these days.  A huge part of that viral reach comes from the relatable meme.

TV shows and movies are the perfect meme material.  The shots are of a high production value, the characters and actors have a back story and context to be played with, and they are just about the easiest type of content for users to create themselves.

Creating memes may seem like just a bit of fun, but they can also offer incredible reach for your show.  So how can you better harness the power of the meme?

The secret is to create them yourself!

The first step is to create your own Giphy account and prepare as many short cuts from your show as possible.  People use GIFs and memes to express themselves, so try to think about the most commonly expressed emotions. Just check the list of emojis for these. Simple.

Then upload your GIFs to the platform and tag them in detail, with the actors, show title, emotions, and any other tags that might be relevant.  Now your GIF will be searchable for users while chatting with friends, or to share on their Stories posts.

Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 10.41.07

Don’t believe the hype?  Well, Netflix is taking it seriously.  They have uploaded 10,900 GIFs from their series to the Giphy platform alone, which have generated 14 billion views! How about that for reach.

At Hello Social, we grew our own audience in exactly the same way, by creating our weekly social media meme.  By taking a self-deprecating look at the world of social media marketing, we show potential clients that we can produce some really incisive content that cuts through the bland posts from the competition, and generate some real engagement.



Work with influencers to create content for your show

As we have just discussed, TV shows are as much about the conversation after as watching the show itself.  Sustaining that buzz is so important for a successful launch, and while word of mouth will take you far, working with the loudest mouths will take you even further.

Connecting with influencers is a great way to get your show into the eyes and ears of those harder to reach market segments.

When promoting The Test it was clear that hardcore cricket fans were going to watch.  However, the goal was to reach a much bigger audience to show that the documentary was about so much more than just cricket.

Realising that viewers absolutely loved the laddish banter in the team, we teamed up with The Inspired Unemployed who produced their own take on the documentary in a short video.

 

 

This kind of awareness drive is a great way to put the show on the radar of viewers who might be put off by the cricket focus, so that they realise that the banter alone makes it worth a watch.

Qualify the hype with real viewer testimonials

The great thing about marketing a TV show is that you will get so much feedback on social media. Why not share the best comments and user generated testimonials on your social channels to let potential viewers hear what the verdict is.

 

 

On the official Hunters Instagram account, marketers have spliced together viewer testimonials from social media with a quick but high impact teaser trailer for the show.  While of course the longer more theatrical trailers are great to sell the show, it’s also important to have some high impact, short videos to stand out on the newsfeed.

Aside from being an effective way of showing social proof for your show, this kind of content is incredibly quick and cheap to produce, and can be replicated regularly with new comments and featuring different scenes.

 

Partner up with brands for a different spin

Although the term “product placement” sounds a bit dated, it’s more prevalent than ever.  Half of the hype around Killing Eve has been the response to Jodie Comer’s latest outfit.

Even if these partnerships are going on behind the scenes, they are an ever present part of TV production, and in our age of transparency and authenticity, more and more marketers are actually collaborating on mutually beneficial campaigns with product brands.

Working with Clipsal who sponsor The Block, we promote content that highlights the products used in the show.

These collaborative pieces are a fantastic way to showcase the brand’s products, but also to connect your TV show or movie with the real world.

If you are interested in working with Hello Social to promote your television series or movie, or are a brand looking to connect with media producers, get in touch with our team now!

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