Earlier this year, MTV put on a social media marketing clinic with its launch of Skins, the American version of the popular — and racy — British teen drama.
With a core age demographic of 12 to 34, Skins was ripe for social media engagement, and MTV took full advantage.
The first good move the network made was beginning its promotional campaign three months prior to the show’s premiere. Networks generally launch shows first, then build a relationship with fans, but why wait? MTV opted to start the conversation and build a community well in advance of the premiere, and based on the numbers (we’ll get to those in a minute), it worked.
Deciding to promote Skins early was only part of the equation for MTV. The network then had to put together a comprehensive social media plan for the show. Let’s take a look at the components:
-Skins.tv: A home site regularly updated with content, including trailers and sneak peeks.
–Tumblr blog (“we are skins”): Microblogging site on which MTV posts text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio from/about the show.
–Twitter handle (@skinsTV): A great way to interact with fans in real time — chats, Q&A’s, contests, links to other Skins sites, etc.
-Facebook fan page: The widely used site gives MTV another space to post content and interact with fans.
-What’s Your Skins Score? (Facebook mobile app): Asks users 10 questions to determine their party personality. Users can share their score with friends on Facebook.
-Where It Went Down (mobile app): Inspired by the wild and crazy experiences the characters have in the show, this app allows users to share where their memorable moments “went down.”
-Fast Society (mobile app): Fans can discuss the show with group texting or an instant conference call.
“Social media has become a full-time customer service job at MTV,” Tom Fishman, MTV’s Social Media Manager, told PaidContent.org. “We dedicated resources to engaging full-time and understanding the nuances of what was being said across social media.”
The effort paid off. Prior to the series launch, the Skins trailer drew more than 5 million video streams and 700,000 uniques on the Skins.tv site, 9,000 followers on Twitter, 55,000 “Likes” on Facebook, and 2,500 followers on Tumblr.
Most important, the Skins premiere drew 3.26 million total viewers, easily outperforming the debuts of competitive shows across both cable and network in its core demo, including CW’s Gossip Girl and ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.
Pretty good ROI for what was once considered a silly little diversion.
MTV opted to pull the plug on Skins on June 9, but it certainly wasn’t because of low ratings. The show had been the subject of significantly more controversy than its U.K. counterpart — despite the fact the U.S. version was less racy — and the network decided the bad outweighed the good.
In spite of Skins’ short run on MTV, the social media marketing campaign that launched the show stands as an example of the power of Web 2.0 promotions.
Image credit: collider.com