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How To Build A Strong Social Media Community for A Legacy TV Brand


2017 NAB Show Editorial Submission
by Gavin McGarry & Danielle D’Ornellas

If you aren’t already familiar, Midsomer Murders is one of the United Kingdom’s top running detective series, and the biggest drama export coming out of the UK. For over 19 seasons, the iconic murder mystery series continues to attract great ratings and the best in acting talent. Blackmail, intrigue, deceit, adultery and murder abound, as the dastardly goings-on in the seemingly idyllic county of Midsomer are unraveled by DCI Barnaby and his rotating cast of supporting characters.

When Jumpwire started working with Midsomer Murders, produced by Bentley Productions, part of the all3media group and curated internationally by all3media International, there were several challenges we had to overcome. The show is wildly popular all over the world, but it also has different names, episode orders, and screening schedules in various regions. While the most recent season is finishing its run in the UK in early 2017, some audiences still haven’t seen the preceding one. There’s also 19 years of history, 19 years of characters, and a community of eager fans who will know when you’ve made a mistake. That said, we knew we could increase Midsomer Murders social audience and engagements and, with data on our side, help it compete with some of the newer shows on the block.

So, how do you take a 1919-year-oldhow and reinvigorate a social community? Jumpwire Media began working with Midsomer Murders last fall to help set up the 19th series for success on social media. Here’s what we learned from the experience.

 

Don’t make assumptions about your community

One of the first things we did was look at the social media audience of Midsomer Murders fans to see how they compared to demographic data about traditional viewers and the results were not what you would expect from such a long running show. We assumed the community would be fans in their mid 50s, with an even gender split and mostly in the UK, but we were (pardon the pun) dead wrong. Midsomer Murders fans on social were most likely to be women 45-55, and while most fans were in the UK, the USA came in a very, very close second, and they were more engaged! This was news to our client and helped us create content specifically with these audiences in mind. We also discovered that the number of fans in their late twenties and thirties were rising, and, with specific posting, were increasing their engagement with the brand. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as long-running shows like Midsomer Murders are usually passed down and shared through generations of family and friends.

Try new things

Here’s something you may not expect from a page where the average person is 45-54. Our top posts are memes. They thought we were crazy; we thought we were crazy. “Our top engaged audiences are women 55-64, these won’t work.” But they did, because a well-done meme connects the audience to the joke. By knowing the show, and understanding the joke, the meme made sense to people of all ages.

Give Them More

One thing we learned early on is that our clients were concerned about posting TOO much, which is a common concern of any client. Their competitors were only posting once a day, or less, and they wanted to do the same. But if there’s one thing that social tells you, it’s that fans always want more. With 19 years of history to sift through, our team would source content and production stills and find stories and actors that audiences hadn’t thought about in years, and they ate it up. Prior to working with Midsomer Murders, they were posting about four times a week, primarily pushing to new episodes of the upcoming season. But after looking at the data and the content, we began posting three times a day and saw intense engagement increases week over week. Our strategy saw reach increase by over 150%, organic reach by 200%, and engagement and clicks increase by 200% in our first month. And the best part was that fans weren’t only engaging in the content related to the new season, they were seeing flashbacks and reminders of their favorite stars and episodes.

 

Think Globally

One of the biggest struggles for our team is that Midsomer Murders is a global phenomenon, and we have to be conscious about that. For example, when we are messaging about the new series in the UK, we have to keep in mind that there are other regions who are behind in the series. However, by posting images and behind the scenes content, we’re able to keep audiences engaged and enthusiastic for the series launch in their region. We’ve also managed collaborations with popular fansites and distributors in various regions to highlight the global Midsomer Murders community.

Listen to Your Community

While we can’t control what actually happens on-screen, we are able to respond to what our audiences are telling us on social media and cater to it. For Midsomer Murders, a long-running series of almost 20 years, there’s a large cast of characters and everyone has their own favourites. One way to balance this divide is through the use of clever calls-to-action or through the use of Facebook Live Polls to generate discussion and comments – catering to fan favorites while also involving popular side characters in the conversation. That way, simple posts asking people to comment about their favourite sidekick can turn into one of the biggest posts of the week.

Encourage User-Generated Content

One of the best things about working with a prestige brand with so many years of history is that if you can imagine some sort of fan tie-in, you can guarantee somebody has made it. From miniature houses to paintings, sweaters and stories, Midsomer Murders fans have created numerous works of art inspired by the show. Simply showcasing and highlighting these efforts is a great way to encourage user generated content submissions to your page.

Overall, the key element to remember when working with a show with such a rich history like Midsomer Murders is that the real focus is the fans. The show wouldn’t be where it is without them, so make sure you’re always looking to them when creating a social strategy and you won’t go wrong!

 

Gavin McGarry Bio Capsule:

Gavin McGarry has been working in the media space for over 25 years. In 2009, he founded Jumpwire Media, an agency which specializes in building and managing social media communities. Prior to that, McGarry worked for the Skype backed online video start up Joost, and was the head of cross platform business development at the global television production company Endemol. His past experience also includes positions at major television networks, as well as owning and operating a television production company and a boutique advertising agency.

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