Thanks to AMC’s The Walking Dead, zombies or “walkers” have become as popular as vampires ever were during the Twilight/True Blood craze. While the show definitely appeals to my horror-nerd side, it's social media marketing strategy has fascinated the social media geek in me as well. The Walking Dead’s social strategy is very dynamic and is definitely deserving of a deeper look. Here are my 5 reasons why AMC’s The Walking Dead’s social strategy survives.
1. Creative Use of Hashtags
The Walking Dead’s social strategy is very creative when it comes to using hashtags. For instance, on Twitter they had specific hashtags counting down to when a new episode would air. As a viewer, I found myself using the hashtags #TheWalkingDeadin15 and #TheWalkingDeadin5 rampantly in anticipation of the episode airing. This tactic is a great two-pronged approach. For the viewers, it’s fun to chat it up about how excited you are that the show is coming on and for people who might have forgotten or are new to the show, it’s a subtle reminder that they have 15 minutes to tune in. Brilliant. This isn't hashtagging for hashtag’s sake, this is a creative!
2. Cast & Crew Participation
What would make Twitter users lose their minds and blister their thumbs more than having cast members from The Walking Dead actually interact while the show is on? It’s pretty common that you will see Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun or Eulyn Womble chime in with their thoughts or commentary on a scene. Whether this is planned or organic, this is an incredibly powerful aspect of their social strategy. These days, fans expect some sort of access to their favorite stars on social media sites (especially Twitter), so participation during the show makes them frenzy. Even after the show is over, the cast stays pretty actively engaged with their communities on Twitter. This is awesome.
3. 2nd Screen Experience
Another particularly unique aspect of The Walking Dead’s social media strategy is their Story Sync 2nd screen experience. This is a unique way that viewers can have an interactive experience with the show that extends outside of traditional social media sites. Story Sync gives users the chance to engage in polls, participate in trivia questions and re-live their favorite scenes from the show. This might not be an overly “social” aspect of their strategy, however it gives people another way to engage and spend time with The Walking Dead. Overall, this is meant to immerse people IN the show while watching it.
4. The Dead Yourself App
This fun photo app is a way for fans to transform themselves into one of the walking dead. Available for both iOS and Android, this app has been downloaded and used by millions around the world. Users are able to become zombies in photos and share those photos to social sites. The Walking Dead Team didn't get lazy on this feature as the app has been updated with new photos and props to celebrate the new season. I have personally spent way too much time with this.
5 . The Talking Dead
The Talking Dead is a talk show hosted by Chris Hardwick that discusses the most recent episode with celebrity guests. I think The Talking Dead is a great aspect of their social media strategy because questions and discussions are taken directly from social media chatter. Of course, they do take live audience questions and phone calls as well. The show as a whole extends the experience and connection that fans have with The Walking Dead. Not only does the most recent episode spark a ton of social buzz, The Talking Dead follows up with even more! A particularly effective social 1-2 punch. AMC realized this was a great formula and created a similar talk show for their hit series Breaking Bad.
The Walking Dead has a great social strategy in place. They make a valiant effort to innovate, connect, participate and extend the whole fan experience. My hat is off to their social team.
What do you think about The Walking Dead’s social media efforts? Are there any other aspects that you found particularly interesting?