Fueling Social Fandom: 5 Tips From MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central


This post was written by Vivian Nunez.

Tom Chirico of VH1, Tom Fishman of MTV, and Don Steele of Comedy Central helped bring life to the discussion on social fandoms in a fun, engaging, and entertaining way. The Fueling Social Fandom at MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central panel was led by Natan Edelsburg of Sawhorse Media, who added in some extra twists to liven up the session.

Discussions were had on whether the “g” in gif was a hard g, a series of games defending their past tweets and Instagrams were played, and through it all everyone at the session and tuning in via Livestream learned a few lessons.

Here are the top 5 takeaways courtesy of MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central:

  1. “Think of fandom not as a one night stand, but as a long term relationship.”
    This was a common theme many of the panelists continuously touched on. As a brand, or franchise, understanding the nuances of your audience is what keeps the relationship alive. It all starts with using social media to power a two-way conversation and not being afraid to listen, and reacting, to what they have to say.
  2. “Finding the little pockets and capitalizing on them.”
    Tom Chirico of VH1 gave a perfect example of this. Anticipating TLC’s movie premiere, VH1 tapped into the audience of avid followers who were creating dance videos to TLC’s song “Creep” and decided to join the movement and created a tutorial of their own. VH1 understood an important truth: acknowledging what a fandom is doing is what keeps the relationship alive.
  3. Tumblr vs. Twitter. vs. Facebook vs. Reddit vs. Instagram
    It doesn’t just have to be one social media platform. As a brand it’s your job to figure out where the fandom is living and have a native conversation there, instead of trying to migrate them to the platform of your choice.
  4. Defining Success
    “When we define success, success for us is scaled engagement — people who are engaging in a deep way with our show or with our content,” said Chirico. The panel expounds that it’s great to be able to monetize success in some way, but at the core it’s seeing people engage that propels the brand, and fandom, forward.
  5. “Don’t aim for real time marketing, aim for real time engagement or real time entertainment”
    Acknowledging that you have a fandom and consistently making them feel special are key ways to keep them coming back for more, whether that includes following them on Twitter or letting them in behind the scenes with Snapchat.

Whether you were sitting in that room or watching via live stream you got why these powerhouses had fandoms — they understood their audience and they played by their terms.

Vivian Nunez is a senior at Baruch College studying marketing and journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vivnunez.

Vivian is one of our SMW Press Corps members, managed by OpenCommunications. Learn more here.

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