How Netflix is Winning Social Media – Case Study
Do you do Netflixing?
Founded in the U.S. in 1997, the Internet subscription video-streaming and DVD-by-mail giant, often referred to as “the biggest video rental store in the world”, has revolutionized the way we watch, pay for and talk about our favourite TV episodes and film productions.
No cables, no long-term contracts, no commitment, just pure entertainment that can be all summed up with 4 simple words: watch-what-you-want.
Netflix offers something what Chris Kerns, VP of Research & Insights at Spredfast, correctly called “entertainment as a utility” – you can turn it on or off whenever you want. And this is exactly what Netflix’s social media strategy stands for.
“Netflix has one goal on social media, to be entertainment’s biggest fan“, they declare proudly as a multiple nominee and the winner of “The Best in Social Media” in Creative Use of Technology by the The Shorty Awards.
How is Netflix winning social media? How do they engage with their fans? Stay with us, bring your own popcorn and inspire your own social media strategy with the case study based on Netflix’s social media best practices. Do not give up if you are not in the media business, as a social marketer or just a social media fan you can always learn something valuable from other industries. Sourcing and combining ideas from apparently distant areas oftentimes brings innovation to life!
Netflix’s Social Media Strategy
As opposed to the traditional television that allows social media networks to release only information parallel to a show’s plot, Netflix releases all episodes at once and this forces the brand’s social media marketing team to take their strategy a level up. The point here is to plan and structure campaigns in the way that allows keeping the consistent flow of fans engagement, both at the very premier of the shows as well as after the initial binge.
Often, adding “a wink” to their communication, Netflix does a great job on social as the following numbers prove themselves: 81 million subscribers and counting, more than 23 million Fans on Facebook, 2.03 million Followers of the Netflix US Twitter account and 1.7 million enthusiasts on Instagram Netflix US account!*
(*According to: https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/netflix_statistics-facts/)
Let’s have a closer look into the Netflix’s social media tactics by analysing their activity on each of the main platforms.
As you can guess from the numbers above, Facebook is Netflix’s main social media network. In only one year they gained just under a million of new U.S. Facebook users and seven million new global Facebook followers.
Netflix uses geo-targeting for their Facebook Pages. Splitting the content into the regions helps them offering only the most relevant information to the target audience.
Content & Engagement
Every three-and-a-half hours some new Netflix’s content is posted somewhere on the Internet. At least that is what they say. However, when it comes to the Facebook Pages, this frequency varies. The U.S. Page is, indeed, kept very fresh and dynamic, while for example for the Polish region (Netflix entered this market in the beginning of 2016) at the time of writing this article, the last post was created on the 14th of April, more than a month ago (ouch!)
The U.S. Facebook Page is a mix of videos, gifs and occasionally images, all related to the currently streaming episodes and movies. They often use a dedicated hashtag such as #NowOnNetflix, or hashtags inspired by the movie titles: ?#TheDoOver or ?#PeakyBlinders.
What I like a lot is that they let their fans be a part of the family by sharing with them the behind-the-scene stories. Like this one, where Director of Content Acquisition, John Derderian explains (and gets pretty emotional about) the stories behind getting Bob Ross, a legendary American painter, and art instructor, on Netflix.
Watch the video to the end and note the drop of humour here, smuggled in the question on a “fluffy cloud” that John supposedly considers himself to be. And this witty tone of voice continues in the answers given to the video’s comments:
It also spreads across all over the Facebook Page, like here, in another answer related to Bob Ross’ teachings on Netflix:
No doubts. Netflix social media engineers are certainly the “entertainment’s biggest fans” as they happen to declare. Also, the behind-the-scene content helps them to keep their fans constantly engaged both at the show’s premier as well as after the initial binge.
On social, humour is the Netflix’s trademark. It makes them very likeable and follow-able. It also proves how well they know their audience. Telling a joke is not a problem, making people laugh with it, is. You need to know people you talk to very well in order to make them laugh with your words. Netflix does people laugh and they pay the brand back with lot of LOVE:
As to the engagement, Netflix answers to their Facebook Fans (the U. S Page) comments on a regular basis. You kind of feel their consent presence here.
What I particularly like about their social media strategy is that not only they talk but also make an effort to listen. “And when we aren’t posting, we’re listening“, they say and it looks like this is quite true:
Another example of a brand that takes social listening seriously and secures its place in the social media “Champions League”. Well done Netflix! Well done.
On Twitter, Netflix runs multiple regional accounts, but the U. S one definitely stands out with its 2.03 million Followers count. The Brazilian one can also be proud with the 711K Followers Base, which is quite remarkable as Brazil is Netflix’s one of the most promising markets expected to generate 24.4 million subscribers by 2020.
Content and Engagement
Unlike Facebook, what Netflix’s team shares on Twitter does not only refer to the #NowOnNetflix news. This goes well, however, with their “Fans entertaining mission”. As Twitter feed, by nature, is much faster and more content-consuming than other social networks’ feeds, they skilfully fill it in with diverse bur still very relevant to their audience content.
Also, Netflix on Twitter takes more of a good friend’s stand that shares some words of wisdom misted with a pinch of trendy often innovation-related topics and of course a good sense of humour like this one:
or this (a friendly advice with “a wink”):
They use 1:1 content cross-promotion between Facebook and Twitter U.S. accounts. Here a tweet that duplicates in 100% a Facebook post:
Much can be said on the content cross-promotion, but here it works pretty well generating a decent level of retweets and likes (comparing to Facebook’s 3K likes and 2.5K shares).
Important to say is that they really work hard on keeping the right balance between the cross-promoted and Twitter- exclusive content. This helps them to keep their audience entertained and happy with what they are being served.
And speaking of cross-promotion, I believe that they receive a lot of traffic from featured actors, celebrities, and other artists’ accounts. Influencer marketing rules apply here and Netflix knows how to harness them well. Just say the right name at the right time and watch how the social media reach grows. Look who we have here:
and here (retweeted):
However, what I particularly like about Netflix’s social practice on Twitter is that the brand acts as everyone’s best friend, both in relation to the “big names” in the industry as well as to any other user. Everyone gets the same attention, positive vibes and care.
Netflix on Twitter celebrates friendship and encourages you to do the same regardless the fact if this involves watching together your favourite episodes or not:
They keep their U.S. account quite busy and fresh posting something like 2-5 times a day, but retweeting a lot. However, apart from the obvious, industry-related names they also, surprisingly, share content from other accounts such as National Geographic and Co.Exist, touching subjects like Drones innovations and national natural heritage and getting a really nice level of fans engagement with this practice. Have a look here:
It is quite clear that Netflix has a “black belt” in understanding their Twitter’s audience, not only in the sense of their favourite TV episodes and shows but also in a much broader lifestyle sense. They skillfully use this knowledge to promote, entertain and engage. They are definitely a brand who doesn’t play safe and isn’t afraid to push the boundaries with their jokes. Everyone is a friend of Netflix on Twitter and this friendliness gets them outstanding results.
Similar to Twitter, Netflix on Instagram has multiple regional accounts. Again here, the U.S. and Brazil take a lead in the Followers count with a decent level of 1.7 million and 1 million Followers, respectively.
Content and Engagement
On the U.S. Netflix Instagram account, they tend to post 2-4 times a week. Their content is similar to Facebook posts and includes high-quality, photoshopped images and videos mostly related to the recently streaming episodes and shows. They often link back to the featured celebrities and stars and this definitely helps them to build the reach and their audience engagement:
Once in a while, they share a promotional graphic, buy even on this occasion they add some funny comment or a joke to keep their fans entertained.
A lot of people enjoy the content because it relates to their sense of humour and uses the same language. Netflix’s Instagram strategy is the same as on Twitter and Facebook – to entertain. And it works well as they receive a high level of engagement on every post.
Netflix definitely knows what they are doing on social media, and they do care about what people say and think. They have a very coherent strategy aimed to entertain their fans and this helps them to send a very clear and targeted message all over the social media universe. They successfully use influencer marketing to promote their content and they carefully plan and structure the campaigns in order to keep a continuous and remarkably high level of fans engagement. Informed by social listening they do a great job in delighting their audience with the perfectly tailored offerings, the language and the sense of humour that gets them truly phenomenal results.