What Buff Naked Wrestlers Can Teach You About Social Media and TV

WWE and Social Media

Well… Semi-naked, let’s keep it decent.

Weighing in at 4.14M Twitter followers, introducing…the WWE!

Back in 2011 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) launched a massive social media campaign “Boots to Asses” to promote an upcoming match between two superstars, John Cena and The Rock.

Many of you may have already heard of it; but perhaps what you’re not aware of, is the impact this social media campaign has had on the development of Social TV.

Social Interaction!

In addition to the on-screen drama that unfolded week after week, each superstar also had a twitter page and would frequently drop a tweet in relation to any upcoming matches, their ‘feelings’ towards each other and anything else they deemed appropriately entertaining – places they had visited etc.

The Twitter and Facebook campaign encouraged millions of wrestling fans to ‘choose a side’ and all out war soon broke out!

Each superstar gained over a million followers on their respective twitter feeds resulting in thousand’s of re-tweets and fan comments

Many of these comments would be featured on the next episode of WWE: RAW as well as various recap programmes.

This strategy is, quite simply, brilliant (and very clever).

Social Network Story Expansion

Mark Keys, a key digital leader at WWE (VP, web production) has notably stated:

“Our form of content is really entertainment, it’s not sports… One of the things that WWE can do, as a program that runs 52 weeks a year that is literally scripted week by week, is… augment our storylines with simple feeds to these social networks on a weekly basis… [We can] continue the story that ended on Monday night and carry it through to the next Monday night.”

The full quote (along with more great info can be found here)

So How Does This Help You?

This strategy seems to be tailor made for Transmedia Storytelling!

There is a lot we can all learn from the WWE’s social media strategy, especially in “reality-blurring” serial productions.

Using Social media platforms to extend the stories In Between episodes and encourage mass participation – which is later used to manipulate the scripted storyline, is something that ALL Transmedia or Interactive Story Writers/ Producers should take very seriously!

Look @ME

As a final point, the WWE has also adapted another interesting promotional technique, one that applies to all superstars within the brand.

As each wrestler enters the arena, their @twitter details, now accompany their name on screen.

Such a small and simple technique but one that really hits home.

I can’t help but think of Neil Patel (online marketing Guru) states the importance of clearly displaying links within a video to increase awareness and traffic towards a website.

Really Obvious but Perfect for any Transmedia Stories that incorporate additional websites or online profiles.

1…2…3. It’s all over Folks… What a match!

I honestly believe that the WWE’s social media strategy is a thing to behold, and is clear a glimpse of things to come for the standard television experience.

What do you think? Are there any other examples that you know of which really push the TV-Social Media boundaries?

Drop a comment below.


PS… So, disclaimer, I’m really not a huge wrestling fan… but I AM a fan of innovative storytelling across social media platforms and devices.

Lee Robinson
About the author

23yr old film nerd, comic book and video game geek and all round Transmedia Fanatic…Oh, and I also have a 1st degree in Media, Writing and Production. More here...

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