Brands

MTV Rocks the Pop Culture Conversation on Facebook

This post is part of the Killer Facebook Pages Series, which highlights the top brand pages on Facebook and provides tips on how to emulate their successes.

MTV has made a gargantuan impact on cultures around the world. Since its inception in the early 80s, it has been an icon, carving a niche for itself among young adults and the early 20s crowd.

On Facebook, the brand applies its winning strategy, focusing on its core fans and satisfying their wants and needs. Just like it’s done on television, the network positions itself as the foremost voice of pop culture on the social network.

“Our Facebook page is trying to tell the cohesive story as to what’s going on in pop culture,” says Thomas Fishman, director of social media for the company. “MTV means a lot of things to a lot of people. People follow it because they want to know the news on their favorite artists. [Others] follow because they love the pictures we post. We also pay homage to the old shows like ‘Daria’ and ‘Beavis and Butthead.’ We see our page as this buffet that provides snackable content.”

Let’s take a look at what strategies MTV uses to connect with its more than 35 million fans on its main Facebook and millions more on various show pages.

Catering to social currency

MTV, which is the 25th most popular fan page on the site and ranks number 10 among brands on social media, is able to pinpoint on its page what will resonate among fans because it knows its audience.

According to Fishman, “A huge understaking for my team is to get an anthropological and social understanding of these people, see how they engage, and [know] what constitutes social currency. ”

Being in touch with the demographic, females and males between the ages of 13-24, and figuring out what matters most to them is a key aspect of MTV’s Facebook success.

“We’re able to grow the page because we program it really specifically,” says Fishman.

MTV can’t go wrong when it’s posting about the hottest trends in pop culture. On March 26, it shared the “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” trailer, even though the movie has no connection to the MTV brand. It received 22,669 likes, 1,261 comments, and 3,802 shares.

A post from June 14 contained a photo of an injured Chris Brown, receiving nearly 20,000 likes and over 5,000 comments.

Most Facebook brand pages only receive 1 percent engagement, but that is not the case for MTV, Fishman says: “I can tell you openly that our top performing pages are doing much much better than 1 percent engagement.”

Splitting up individual brands to garner more fans

High engagement rates, Fishman says, can be attributed to the fact that MTV splits its television shows into different fan pages. Combining all the pages, the brand has more than 100 million fans.

One example the social media director pointed to was the “America’s Best Dance Crew” page, which typically doesn’t see high engagement until new episodes premiere on Wednesday nights. Then the brand jumps at the chance to connect with fans and the site is full of activity.

The “Teen Wolf” page is constantly updated with information about the show, since MTV saw its demographic engaging in “rabid fan behavior,” says Fishman.

The show’s page, according to Fast Company, saw one million fans by the end of its first season due to the fact that it “provided a steady stream of additional exclusive, never-before-seen show-related content via primarily Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.”

“Engagement has to be mapped to the show or to the initiative of the brand,” says Fishman.

Photos lead the way

A majority of MTV’s updates feature videos and photos instead of text. This is because, Fishman says, visuals are proven to lead to higher participation rates. Also, the brand’s base is “hugely active on mobile, sometimes flipping through the news feed,” he says.

MTV posts text updates, but they don’t nearly receive as many likes as the photos. For example, the same day that the page posted the photo of Chris Brown, it updated with news of the fight in which he had gotten hurt, only getting 1,113 likes and 129 comments. A link to a Justin Bieber article on MTV’s Buzzworthy blog generated 1,670 likes and 357 comments, while a picture of the singer posted on June 15 received 16,804 likes and 3,657 comments within one hour. If there’s any proof that photos work, that’s it.

MTV continues to define generations and lead the pop culture conversation. On Facebook, it’s no different.

“Not only do we have an awesome legacy and pop culture relevance, but we’re in a position [where we are] trying to show a great story every day,” says Fishman. “We view Facebook as another content channel to program.”

Image by Flickr
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