Infectious Social Media: What Advertisers Can Learn from "The Walking Dead"
Social media is like a zombie outbreak: you start with one person who spreads or promotes something, and that one person can end up turning into thousands.
The season finale of The Walking Dead was this past weekend, and the hit show, which only has three seasons under its belt, managed to come out on top of last week’s social TV rankings. People across all different social channels are talking and promoting the show, and it’s helped make it one of the most-watched series on TV.
Trenderr, a tool for measuring social media activity related to specific TV shows, has The Walking Dead beating out Game of Thrones, the NCAA Basketball tournament, and NBA basketball: Heat at the Bulls, which was one of the biggest games in recent NBA history (thanks to the undefeated streak the Heat had heading into Chicago).
The Walking Dead had a weekly activity of 2,263,258, which made it the most talked about show on social media last week.
So what can social media agencies learn from a show filled with zombies -- one that wasn’t even sure it would see a second season?
- Advertising on TV is slowly losing importance. When we take a look at the success of The Walking Dead, part comes from the solid fan following of the comics, while another part is from people who love the zombie craze. Still, the show might not have made it out of its first season without the help of social media. Other shows like The Event (11.19 million viewers during the season premiere) or The River (8.35 million) didn’t make it past season one, even though both were on major networks and had a strong television backing. The Walking Dead has been more successful (12.3 million viewers for the premiere of season three) on a lesser known channel, and with smaller television backing because of how social media has played a role in getting people to talk about the hit series.
- Word of mouth is still social king. The key to using Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media is clearly word of mouth. In the case of The Walking Dead, part of the show’s popularity clearly comes from how many people talk about it online, and if your friends are talking about it, not only is there a stronger chance an advertisement will end up on your social media wall, but you’ll be more inclined to watch it for yourself.
- Social media is both the judge and jury. If there’s anything to take away from the social media buzz of The Walking Dead, it’s that social media can play both the judge and jury. How successful something is can easily be judged by how many people are talking about it on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. If people are talking about your product on social media sites than you know you’re advertising the right way. If you’re still struggling to generate buzz, it may be time to shift gears and move in another direction.
The Walking Dead has managed to capture the attention of fans, and the benefits are clearly showing on social media platforms. The series has used social media to help push itself into the spotlight, and as their fan base continues to grow, the show doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
The Walking Dead proves that like a herd of zombies, a good product can be infectious on social media.
(image: social media zombies / shutterstock)
I graduated from Stony Brook University in August of 2012 with a degree in History. Outside of writing about social media, I'm a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report. When I'm not writing for the Bleacher Report, you can find me writing for one of the top ranked online marketing agencies, fishbat.
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