***WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD***
The final season of HBO’s epic fantasy show, Game of Thrones (GoT), premiered on April 14, with fans clamouring, meme-creating and spoiling on social media as the episode played live. Based on the novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, fans were patiently waiting two years for the final season to release. After a long period, you would expect fans to lose interest in the show, but this was definitely not the case. To prevent disinterest after a long hiatus, the GoT marketing department strategically and creatively created a campaign to involve fans from every area of the world, including artists, creatives and even their own cast members and crew. Get inspired by GoT and check out the five marketing takeaways from their season 8 social media strategy that you can use for your own campaigns!
- Remind your audience with a throwback
Us GoT fans don’t have the same power as Bran’s “greenseeing” ability to look back in time, so the marketing team reminded us with meaningful and influential scenes from previous seasons, including Geoffrey’s unexpected poisoning and the spine-chilling, lifting of dead-wildings-turned walkers in Hardhome.
It’s easy to leave the viewer with an intense feeling after just one scene. GoT does it all the time. It’s one of the reasons why they’re the number two most subscribed subreddit among TV shows on Reddit. Your business may not have the same popularity that GoT has accumulated throughout the years, but you can still evoke a desired feeling amongst your followers. Take a look back at your most popular content from previous years and repurpose them as a fresh experience for new fans or to remind old fans of the good ol’ days.
- Creatives are your best friend
As part of their marketing campaign, GoT invited eighteen international artists to reimagine eighteen different props that played a huge role throughout the show. From a reimagining of Jon Snow’s Lord Commander cloak onto canvas, to a painting inspired by Sansa’s Purple Wedding necklace, ‘Create for the Throne’ celebrates artists from across the globe. They encourage fans to create and reimagine their favourite GoT props, inviting those to share their own work on social media by using the hashtag, #ForTheThrone.
You don’t need to scour the globe for creatives. They live everywhere. Start with your local city or town and connect with those who are a fan of your business. Any pieces of work, whether its a drawing, a photo or even a song, can inspire fans and followers to perceive your business in a different light. Encourage fans to create and share their own artwork based off your business, leveraging a hashtag of your choosing. If your business is small, followers may not be inclined to create, so start a contest to motivate those to get creative!
- Fan interaction and engagement is essential
#ForTheThrone is GoT’s major marketing campaign, containing three separate strategies: ‘Quest’, ‘Bleed’, and ‘Create’ (as explained above). ‘Quest for the Throne’ is an interactive experience for fans to explore the world around them. Six life-sized Iron Thrones had been placed at unknown locations around the globe for an epic scavenger hunt. Leading up to the season 8 premiere, clues were given through a one-hour YouTube livestream, providing fans with a 360-degree-look of each throne’s remote location, as well as tweets from the marketing team. Winners who discovered the thrones were awarded a replica crown. All locations have been found and identified, with the last one being revealed in New York City, USA, including one in British Columbia, Canada!
Interactive experiences allow fans to become involved in the marketing, with the opportunity for user-generated content and an overall excitement for your business. Although not at a large scale like this, encouraging fans to go out the extra mile will help grow your brand’s image. One idea is to start an online photo scavenger hunt. Hide clues within images, while providing more context in the caption. Ask fans to guess what the clue means. You could also leverage it as a contest and give away a prize for increased engagement.
- Philanthropy doesn’t have to be boring
The last and final concept of GoT’s #ForTheThrone is ‘Bleed for the Throne’, a philanthropic campaign to inspire those to donate blood. Fans who donate blood at participating organizations have the chance to win a signed GoT poster.
This idea is easy enough to implement, especially if your business is involved in philanthropy. Partner with a not-for-profit or charity organization to create a contest campaign that involves both parties. Include ideas inspired by both your business and the chosen charity.
- Show fans and followers the other side
Most of us fans have never worked on a big TV series before. The amount of moving pieces, communication and teamwork involved in a production of this magnitude needs its own story. The GoT marketing team gave us just that, taking us on a behind the scenes journey of the making of GoT season 7, including visual effects, makeup and prosthetics, stunts, and camera work.
They also created a YouTube series called ‘The Cast Remembers’ where GoT actors and actresses discuss their experience with working on the show, how it impacted their careers and lives, as well as a synopsis of what their characters have gone through and where they are heading in season 8.
For your business, allow fans and followers to see what daily work life is like. Talk to your team and ask if they would like to be featured on social media. Whether it’s a team meeting, special event, or sneak peek of current projects, leverage your team’s hard work that they achieve on a daily basis. Not only will your team appreciate it, but so will your fans. Creating a story is essential for current fans to feel like they are part of something special, inviting potential fans and followers to join in as well.
As Game of Thrones season 8 unfolds, more marketing strategies will be released, which means more awesome content will inspire our marketing campaigns. Which strategy is the most helpful for your business and how will it influence your next campaign? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!