10 Social Media PR Lessons From #OITNB

Social Media OITNBLooking to connect, bond and create brand advocates? You might learn a social media lesson or 10 from the hashtag #OITNB.

The Netflix original television series, “Orange is the New Black”, has more than its recent 12 Emmy nominations to brag about.

The show’s social media team, fans and cast do a breakthrough job at publicizing the steamy side of women’s prison and building relationships, engagements, interactions and advocacy that borderline’s addiction – between the show, the characters, and audience.

Survey Says Social Media News Goes From Vice to Habit

Social media has become a powerful, effective, and cost-efficient news distribution network for organizations of all sizes.

In a recent TekGroup social media news survey; 37 percent of respondents confessed they are hooked on social media about 1 to 2 hours a day and are using tools habitually with almost 90 percent saying they use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs on a daily basis to follow and monitor a brand’s news and information.

So as social media transitions from vice to habit and content marketing bubbles up as the next marketing drug, I mean strategy, of choice, what’s the right prescription for your brand?

How Brands Like #OITNB Keep Fans Hooked Via Social

With the big push in content marketing and the use of social media as a commonplace tactic for brands, rising above the clutter is becoming a challenge, but with a little creativity, any size brand can steal some social media inspiration from shows like “Orange is the New Black”.

“Multichannel storytelling talk is pretty commonplace these days, but finding great examples of brands doing this well can be tough to find because the reality is it’s pretty hard to pull off,” said Lisa Grimm, director of social and public relations for Space150.

“OITNB is among those doing a nice job extending its popular women’s prison Netflix TV drama into digital with stellar content, distribution and conversation with its growing base of rabid fans,” Grimm said.

Do you have to be a sexy TV show to pull off a magnetic social media campaign? Absolutely not. But it helps to have a quality product or service. Your social media marketing and public relations can’t make up for holes in customer service, product fails and weak business models.

“OINTB is guilty of savvy social media marketing,” said Kristi Kellogg, content writer at Bruce Clay Inc. “The evidence doesn’t lie – one look at their Twitter feed proves the community managers are conspiring to engage their vast audience with photos, videos and memorable one-liners. Furthermore, OINTB is inciting rampant OINTB-related hashtag use and consorting with fans in branded Twitter chats (#AskOrange).”

10 Easy SMM Lessons From #OITNB

1. Use Hashtags With Meaning, Power, Purpose

OITNB Hashtag#OITNB is the show’s namesake branded hashtag that carries over into multiple social platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. It is strategically used in the show’s official profile images for maximum social cross promotion. The perfect example of a visual use of a hashtag to truly dominate mobile and social networks.

2. Curate Visuals That Tell Your Story Across All Social Screens & Channels

By strategically using visuals to represent the show’s latest news, #OITNB uses an overarching cover image that represents all the characters’ personality and the announcement of season two. The cover image takes into consideration the mobile users experience on social.

Great social PR and branding idea: Most visuals are watermarked with the Netflix logo and the show’s logo for clear visual messaging to busy mobile users. Any brand can implement this strategy!

OITNB Facebook Cover

3. Empower Brand Advocates to be Part of Your News Reporting Team

Laura Prepon Instagram

The cast of #OITNB shares and reports news from their personal social media networks. How about igniting your cast of characters, your employees, to be part of your social sharing network?

Employees can reach and audience 10x larger than the audience your brand is reaching and can receive 8 times the engagement your brand is receiving, according to SocialChorus. By empowering your employees to share and interact as your brand ambassadors, this can open up a whole new world of social media distribution channels.

4. Unlock Social Promotions and Social Talk Shows in Real Time

Going from the TV screen to social and mobile screens, #OITNB connects with fans via social media conversations that ignite audience excitement in the form of comments, interactions, and social sharing.

Global Visiting Hours Twitter Q&A

Twitter Chats #AskOrange has a different character guest each time putting them in the Twitter spotlight up front for fans to directly communicate with them.

OITNB Facebook Q&A

Facebook Q&A with the show’s characters trigger a flood of questions and comments. If you have a new product or want to tackle some frequently asked questions, try hosting a Facebook chat and watch your audience engagement grow.

5. Power up Engagement With Your Audience in Mind

Start a conversation that produces user-generated content you can engage with and repurpose in your social channels. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are used to ask fans to submit a photo of themselves wearing orange on Wednesdays to show their fan fare. They provide a visual example of what they’re looking for, along with this copy: “Let’s show the world that Orange fans are best! Wear Orange tomorrow and upload a photo with #OnWednesdaysWeWearOrange!”

On Wednesdays we wear orange

Instagram has 3,000+ photos tagged with #onwednesdayswewearorange.

6. Promote Across the Social Borders for Ultimate Success

Yes, we want to drive traffic to our website for the ultimate conversion. But don’t forget that the digital journey is up to your audience and is almost never a direct path from social media to website action.

Get social real-istic and use your established social channels to promote others, like these Facebook posts driving Facebook fans to Instagram and Tumblr.

“They’re creatively is present across the spectrum of social channels, from trendy Instagram to the less mainstream and ‘geekier’ Google+,” said Virginia Nussey, content and media manager at Bruce Clay Inc.

7. Create Highly Visual, Entertaining, Shareable Content

OITNB uses a lot of photo memes (still shots of characters on the show with a text overlay to convey a thought or what they’re saying). These posts are liked, shared, and retweeted thousands of times by fans.

The same types of content opportunities might not be available in other brands, but the concept can be done by any size brand using photos from trade shows or conferences with key quotes or messaging.

I want to be your prison wife

8. Be Relevant to Fans in All of the Languages They Speak.


OITNB creates and shares character emojis (totes brill).

9. Give Fans a Behind-the-Scenes Peek Into the Real Lives of Characters

This tactic never gets old, providing your sneak peek content is interesting. OITNB uses Instagram to share a lot pics of the cast on set, at premieres and other appearances.

You can do this too by sharing behind the scenes snaps of your business whether it is cup cake making or enterprise software, it’s the real and authentic side of your business your audience wants to see. It’s what happens behind the fluff, the business blunders or retakes that make a brand human. Check out the Instagram: @oitnb.

10. Social Media Works Best in a Collaborative Effort

The #OITNB conversation is coming from multiple sources ranging from the brand Netflix to the product #OITNB to the characters to the fans.

OITNB Website


The ultimate conversion for #OITNB is to get somebody to watch the show, and the social word seems to be spreading with each social share a brand addict is born.

“Orange is the New Black” and social media have one thing in common: every sentence has a story. What’s your social media story?

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