Social Spotlight: Netflix and the subtle art of sausage making

Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where each week we’ll dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy through execution and results, we’ll examine what makes the best brands on social tick — and leave you with some key takeaways to consider for your own brand’s social strategy.

One of the first things I learned about getting–and keeping–an audience’s attention is that you have to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. And if you’re Netflix, well–you’ve got a lot to offer.

Overview

Netflix has gotten a lot right in its 22 years in ebusiness, from knowing when to go all-in on a digital platform, to building the gold standard of recommendation algorithms. Not to mention scores of hit original series and a brand name drop in one of the more ubiquitous memes of the 2010s. 

And the same savvy that’s served Netflix well on the product side extends to marketing, especially social. There the brand has leaned hard into a “fan’s fan” persona by hiring movie and TV buffs to man its accounts and eschewing a multi-layered content approval process in favor of well-documented social guidelines that apply to the company as a whole. The resulting brand voice is approachable, clever without trying and authentic to the reason Netflix is beloved in the first place: people love to talk about what they’re watching.

But perhaps the biggest coup of all for Netflix on social is the ability to capitalize on the brand’s unique value propositions. You can’t get Stranger Things anywhere other than Netflix’s service, and you definitely can’t get Stranger Things behind-the-scenes content anywhere other than Netflix’s social handles. 

Analysis

Netflix drive a lot of social conversation–to the tune of 1.7 million brand mentions and 30 million engagements in the first two weeks of September alone, according to Sprout’s Listening data. Let’s take a look at what all of that volume is designed to do for the brand, both online and offline:

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