At present, Netflix boasts more than 130 million users availing its services, way ahead than any of its competitors like Amazon, which just has 100 million viewers. Just between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, it could add more than 7 million worldwide subscribers in its repertoire, which is more than the population of Singapore.
These colossal numbers aren’t the work of any Fairy Godmother or an early gift from Uncle Santa. Rather, each and every subscriber is the hard-earned prize of the smart people who manage data and marketing strategies at Netflix.
In fact, some of its strategies have been so phenomenal that not even the innumerable controversies it has been embroiled in couldn’t stop its winning streak.
For example, the negative publicity its original show “13 Reasons Why” generated for romanticizing depression and suicide. You must be remembering its spooky christmas tweet that came under fire for disclosing the explicit browsing details of its customers. Or, the 2016 price hike debacle that priced this media giant a staggering 500,000 customers.
Perhaps the biggest controversy of its lifetime would be the blanket ban that it issued on the use of location masking software like VPN, for accessing its content. The furore that ensued took some ugly turns, with many people claiming to delete their accounts and the CEO Reed Hastings blaisly dismissing them as, “It’s a very small but quite vocal minority”
Many people might have expected Netflix to get boycotted or fold under the wraith of such giant controversial storms. But it’s hard to let go of what you love.
And it seems people really love Netflix if the burgeoning numbers of subscribers are any indication.
- Since 2015, more than 30 million subscribers have joined the Netflix bandwagon and have been streaming its content using location-masking technology like VPN.
- Inspite of the ban and hike, Netflix has added more than 40 million new subscribers.
- It has achieved membership in almost 190 countries, as per its official website.
And there are just 195 countries in the world.
Such amazing stats beg the question that what secret love potion has Netflix been brewing to make almost the whole globe gaga over it.
Well, some of it is not hard to tell, like the huge catalogue of its licensed and original shows, their addictive quality, the reinvestments Netflix makes into developing new quality content and last but not the least, its genius marketing strategy.
The way it leverages social media is also a big reason behind the success of its marketing strategies. Below are the 6 social media marketing lessons you can learn from Netflix to bestow your brand an almost fanatical following.
#1 Product trumps the brand, anyday
When you hear ‘Netflix’, the maximum chances are that you will remember the last show you watched on it, rather than it’s red Netflix sans logo.
So, what does it imply?
Simply, that it’s the product that should sell the brand and not the other way round, for any company to go far ahead. It is quality of its product that has helped Netflix brave the loss of its subscribers and the wave of litigation which have forever wreaked havoc on this company. If the content is subpar, whatever social media strategy you use, it will run its course and your brand will spiral down.
This has been corroborated by the thorough comparison that Digital Trends carried out of the different streaming service providers.
And imagine who came out with flying colors?
Obviously, the centerpiece of this article, Netflix, that too, in 5 out of the 7 categories. (content library, price, ease of use, supported devices, video quality).
This sweeping victory fortified the position of Netflix as the king of binge-worthy content. This is beside the fact that almost 80% of the viewership comes from watching the licensed shows and movies since Netflix has been diligently developing its own original content, which accounts for the rest 20%.
For another proof of Netflix’s commitment to creating quality content, you can check the investments it makes in developing content. In 2017, the money it spent just on content was $6, an enormous $1.5 higher than Amazon, which is purported to rise to $8 by 2018 end.
Now, that’s what we call dedication.
#2 Sound real and people will respond
People connect when conversations are fun. And Netflix is beautifully leveraging this psychological concept by creating conversations on the Twitter sphere that are casual to the extent of absurd. But from the 5 million followers it boasts on its Twitter account, it seems people are actually fond of this conversation style.
Taking it a step further, @Netflix account uses a completely unheard approach of positioning itself as the friend of one of its subscribers. This personal style creates a sense of closeness as the followers lack the feeling of being in a conversation with a corporation.
What it teaches you is, sometimes thinking out of the box pays, especially when it comes to social media marketing.
#3 Look beyond the number game
Now you know how to share, next comes when to share? Or maybe not.
Any other social media expert would advise you to take care of the times you post, because in the end, social media marketing is numbers game if nothing else.
However, if we are to take a page from Netflix’s book, it seems there is much more to it. Yes, it’s important that you maintain a regular interaction with your audience and post frequently on your social media pages. But, as Netflix teaches us, it’s the quality of those posts that would decide the fate of your brand’s visibility, more than anything else.
Just like we saw that Netflix uses a personal style to interact with its audience, it is also evident that each post is infused with some dry wit and humor to make them engaging.
This points out that tweeting for a target is not Netflix’s end game. Rather, it genuinely wants to engage with its audience, for which it carefully crafts each post, after much research into the audience mindset. Netflix knows that the majority of its followers belong to the trendy category and it makes sure that majority of its posts follow a similar style.
See below to believe.
#4 Listen to what customers are saying
Providing services which don’t help your customers is like offering soil to a fish. Like that poor fish your customer base will wither off and your business will suffer.
For fulfilling your customer’s needs, it is imperative to know what they want, so that you can respond in a way which shows, “Hey buddy, I am listening”. In social media jargon, that’s called active listening.
One way Netflix demonstrated its active listening prowess was through the project called Netflix Socks, which it launched in 2015. The inception of that project was based on the numerous complaints that Netflix got from its viewers regarding their tendency to fall asleep while binge watching their shows.
I am sure you must have done it too. At Least, I have.
As a solution to this problem, Netflix collaborated with Deeplocal to develop Smart Socks. This software utilized an accelerometer for detecting when the viewers fell asleep; following which it sent a signal to the user’s device and paused the show there.
Thanks to this almost magical technology, users could wake up and find their show paused where they had drowsed off, not five episodes ahead.
This project became such a big success that it won itself a Shorty Award in 2016 for the creative utilization of technology. This gimmick went absolutely viral, generating 1175 tweets on an average every day, from almost 20,000 different accounts.
#5 Get in the shoes of your customers
What would be the biggest gift for a star trek fan? Undoubtedly, a collection of all the movies of this franchise at one place. Well, that’s what Netflix did while celebrating the latest entry into the Star Trek series. It streamed the complete set of Star Trek TV series on its site and in doing so, linked itself with an established franchise and an upcoming blockbuster.
Now, Netflix had no association with the Star Trek production team or the movie itself. But by showing that it was devoted to the fan base, it proved that it was ready to go the extra mile for satisfying its customers, something which the original studio might have not been able to achieve.
News about the series was spread all across the social media sites and won the hearts of many of its customers. Apart from the subscribers, this was even a treat for its Trekkie employees, who found another reason to fall in love with their company.
What one can learn from this innovative marketing strategy is that sometimes thinking from the perspective of your enthusiastic audience can give you superb advertising ideas. And if you could come with a strategy that touches the chord within your viewers, then nothing better than it.
#6 Don’t limit yourself to one idea
When it comes to its marketing plans, it seems as if Netflix strategists are brimming with a slew of gob-smacking ideas. Take, for example, the landing page created by Netflix, full of hilarious gifs, encouraging its customers to share with headings like “Give your friends that extra push”.
The brilliant step in this was to pair these sites with the social media accounts of Netflix, thus incorporating itself into the casual conversations of its audience. As more and more people tickled with the gifs, Netflix achieved more and more viewers.
Now, that’s what we call stroke of genius.
Apart from those mentioned above, there are a lot more marketing lessons that entrepreneurs can imbibe from Netflix to give their business the extra push. Netflix is called the king of media streaming not for nothing.
But if one lesson you wish to take away from their strategies, here is that-
When you share on the social media, don’t do it to meet a target, but do it to genuinely engage with people who are driving your business. If you try to look from the eyes of your customers, you will find a plethora of ideas that you can test to engage your audience.
Know that when it comes to social media, impossible spells as I am Possible’.
Anthony Bergs is a Digital Marketing Specialist and a Project Manager at Writers per Hour. He always keeps an eye on the marketing sector to implement the best innovations into the strategies that he builds. He’s always open for new connections and partnerships.