Feb 01, 2019
The show’s strong online presence is designed to keep fans engaged after its final season airs.
Last week, Comedy Central's Broad City returned with a fifth and final season premiere that mimicked a daylong Instagram story, complete with emojis, stickers, and quirky hashtags. The episode — aptly titled “Stories” and filmed entirely on the iPhone X — offers viewers an intimate look at the lives and friendship of Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer), one that makes them feel like they’re real-life friends with the NYC BFFs.
The irony in the episode's innovative approach is that it offers fans a heightened level of engagement and access that they’re familiar with via the show's official social media accounts.
“A lot of people have a best friend, their Abbi or Ilana, and that's how they’re connecting with the show,” says Shannon Maguire, director of digital series strategy at Comedy Central. “We just made that a social experience.”
Jacobson and Glazer, who both worked SEO jobs before imagining the series, aren’t personally addressing fans and posting on the Broad City Twitter or Instagram feed, but their tone comes through clearly and the style of the posts is all them. The show’s social media strategy is marked by diverse content, from hashtaggable momments and viral memes, to episode-inspired blogs, custom apps, and a digital exclusive series. It also boasts impressive ROI with more than 100,000 new followers and 35 million total social video views in 2018 alone.
Broad City’s fan-focused social media strategy provides insight into how brands can create an effective online marketing campaign. But, with the show ending this season, it also illustrates how content creators can build an online presence that actually stands the test of time — just like deep friendship between Abbi and Ilana. Here are three key lessons marketers can take away from the beloved comedy’s social activity.
"The whole thing about Broad City that's different from other shows is that the social strategy was born out of the fans' behavior."
Director of Digital Series Strategy at Comedy Central
The minds behind Broad City’s social strategy know the fans and know what those fans love about the show, which has allowed them to create content that really resonates
“The whole thing about Broad City that's different from other shows is that the social strategy was born out of the fans' behavior, and we really did adapt to work with them and give them content that they would really respond to,” explains Maguire.
For season five, the Comedy Central social team tapped into nostalgia and the fans’ desire to know how the final season will end, so they built excitement with behind-the-scenes footage and visual recaps of some of the show’s most memorable moments to create “the ultimate experience of production for this final season,” Maguire says.
"Sometimes you don't know what your audience wants until you give it to them."
Social Media Consultant
“Quality content is key. Whether it's a written content, whether it's a photo, whether it's a video, go in there with some sort of effort,” explains Herman.
While all their ideas weren’t successful, the team maintained an attitude of “whatever, we'll give it a try. If it fails, it fails, but we want to be on the forefront of whatever the social media accounts are trending,” Rosenthal explains.
“Sometimes you don't know what your audience wants until you give it to them,” Herman adds.