Don't Leave Your Customers Out of the Conversation

For the past few weeks, the topic is sharks and quite possibly the most popular "B-Movie" buzz on social media to date is Sharknado. The SyFy channel movie, which aired for the first time in July, has been a social media mega-success, making it more successful online than the ratings.

Sharknado Proves People Want to Be a Part of the Conversation

Studies have shown repeatedly that people like to be a part of a community. However, Sharknado proves it. People don't have even have to watch the movie to know what it's about. A tornado casts mean and hungry sharks out into the land. A trailer shot shows a hero defending himself against an air-borne shark with a chain-saw. It's so predictable that you almost know what the movie will look like ahead of time. What content marketers didn't see coming was the social tornado that Sharknado would create online. On Facebook, 85% of the modest 13,000 fans were "talking about" Sharknado on July 24. Today, that number has almost doubled at 25,800 fans.

The Calm Before the Storm

This phenomenon did not happen overnight. Twitter cites the first Sharknado tweeter as @STYDNews, who tweeted on October 31, 2012. After that, it was a steady increase as the movie debut became closer. Estimates show up to 5,000 tweets per minute included some sort of reference to the made-for-tv movie. Brands have used the activity on Twitter to push their own brand including Bounty, who spoke about using paper towels to clean up the mess and many home owner insurance agencies who are using Sharknado to promote conversation about what is covered under your policy.

The Takeaway for Brands

As an entrepreneur, the Sharknado story is extremely encouraging. The key to Sharknado's success seems to be its clear concise message and its dedication to keep fans included in the conversation. This has been done with frequent posts and many details and exclusives for fans and followers such as free signed posters at specified locations or exclusive interviews. However, the movie nor the marketing campaign would have been seen as competitive this time last year in the traditional sense. I guess it is true that Renegades Write the Rules.