One Key Lesson from The Hunger Games' Social Media Program

By Matter

A lot of people in the PR world try to seem smarter by acting like a cynic about everything – poking holes in theories, finding mistakes in campaigns, or explaining how if they were in charge, they’d have done it better. I am guilty of that too.

But I have to admit that I prefer reading articles about PR and social media campaigns that go really well, more than those that highlight the mistakes that campaigns make. And in coverage of the social media world, the Hunger Games has quickly become the poster child for how to do social media right.

Nobody can say exactly what impact the social media efforts of the year leading up to the box office smash opening of the film had, but details about sheer numbers and level of fan/follower engagement make it a safe assumption that it was a key driver.

As a result of that success, marketing and PR blogs  abound on the lessons you too can take from the wildly successful social media campaign.

Here’s the thing. Unless you are releasing a well-made film based on a best-selling series that appeals to a broad range of ages and both sexes, you absolutely can’t use the same strategy or expect the same results. Disagree? Come on. I promise you that if you are a data storage company, you’re not going to have 800,000 views and shares of the latest chalk talk video on automated tiered storage, or the future of SSDs in the data center.

Nonetheless, reading through the year-long efforts distills some very simple rules about how to engage successfully in social media. None of them are new learnings. What the Lionsgate team did is follow these straightforward rules about social media – and they did it flawlessly.
Boiled down, these rules are:
1. Know your audience.
2. Know what they expect on different social channels.
3. Plan your content.
4. Give your fans and followers something they can’t get another way.
5. Engage.
6. Maintain the “brand” voice, but offer something different to your social communities.
7. Listen.
8. Change content and tactics as needed, based on what you hear.
9. Tie in to traditional media sensibly.
10. Understand that these channels are shifting and changing, you need to do the same as you engage on them.

Are you shaking your head – you’ve seen this all before, right ? Of course you have. Like everything in marketing, the rules matter, but if you can’t execute, you’re sunk. The only new lesson from The Hunger Games social media success is: flawless execution matters.