Culled from Efficient PR 

Hunger Games, the movie by Lionsgate, based on the series of books by Suzanne Collins, has scored high with its $155.000.000 weekend opening and it is expected that the two forthcoming sequels will beat the success of the famous film series of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Twilight. What is even more striking is the fact that the film broke box office records even before its official release.

How was that possible? With social media power, time and commitment

With the help of social infrastructure, they actually managed to create an international social phenomenon, but not overnight. The buzz around Hunger Games started from June 2011 when Lionsgate and leveraged their social promotions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, MTV and other youth orientated platforms where teens spend several hours per day.

They integrated every social media platform into one single social campaign so that people could get immersed into the culture and conflicts of the entire book and film.  Even those who hadn’t read the books could find everything they needed to know about the fictional world of Hunger Games on social networks. Teens not only could get a glimpse of what the film would be about, but they were also offered a wonderful experience through all the content that the social media provided. A strong bond between fans and actors was created, an emotional relationship started between fans and characters and a great admiration was stirred for the fictional surroundings of the book and film.

The modern communication technology was used to the greatest advantage by applying methods that got teens interested and active such as:

ü  developing a social game called “The Hunger Games Adventures” on iPhone, iPad, iPod and Facebook;

ü  creating 13 Facebook pages, one for each of the Districts from which the Hunger Games contestants are pulled from, and captured each of their unique characteristics;

ü  building up a Facebook app that allowed people to identify with the individual districts depicted in the film;

ü  using the mobile as a tool to promote trailers and encourage ticket sales;

ü  creating colorful, engaging video content about the characters and stories of the Hunger Games;

ü  encouraging people to submit videos about how much they love the movie. Obviously, fans then shared the videos with friends and the snowball effect was hence created.

ü  letting fans get involved in the story well before the launch of the product.

All of these things resulted in having the audience do much of the marketing for them. It is indeed a lesson to be learned by any brand that aims to use content marketing as their social strategy.

What Can You Learn

  • Even though you use social media, take time to build a sustainable engagement with consumers. It took 10 months to Hunger Game to come that far.
  • Select your audience carefully and choose only the channels or media platforms that are certain that they can deliver your message to your customers. So, investigate where your potential customers “live online”.
  • Provide everything that your target needs to know about your brand in an organized manner. Plan your content to be released when people are online.
  • Post content that inspire people and make them forward it to their friends.
  • Highlight the elements of your brand that would make your audience love you.
  • Empathize with your audience. Ask your fans’ opinion, give constant feedback and be supportive.
  • Make your social content hardly look like marketing.
  • Use ways to engage them: games, contests, trivia, brainstorming, volunteers etc.

When members participate, always acknowledge their contributions. Show gratitude to fans providing awards, discounts, tokens, autographs, posters, invitations etc.