5 Social Media Marketing Rules “Orange is the New Black” Teaches Us (*Spoiler Alert*)

Although providing weeks (or days or maybe just hours) of enjoyment, season two of “Orange is the New Black” (OITNB) is more than just a series to relax with (or binge on) after a long day. Each character, event, and plot provides some interesting insight into the world of social media marketing. If you’re one of the late bloomers in the world of Netflix shows and have never seen an episode of OITNB, first, I’d say you’re missing out; second, these tips are universal so read on


1) It’s all about relationships
From the delicate and (until the finale) secret relationship between inmate Daya and prison guard Bennett, to the complicated “mother-daughter” dynamic between Vee and Crazy Eyes, to the sultry on-again off-again fling between Piper and Alex, relationships are what keep the show engaging and the audience invested. The same applies to social media marketing. Building relationships with other companies, agencies, or brands online keeps the conversation flowing, the company personable and allows more opportunities for cross promotion.

pic 22) Millennials can make or break you
Brook, without an “e” (like the babbling body of water), is anything but what her name might suggest. Her hunger strike is the perfect example of the Millennial mindset – they need to be heard, strive to make a difference and above all want to see change. It’s no secret that Millennials are the largest generation with soon-to-be the most buying power (second only to the baby boomers). Targeting them through social media isn’t just the obvious and easiest choice, it’s also the most effective – as long as you show this multi-tasking generation how your product or service can improve their hectic lives and enable them to make a difference.

OITNB3) Be original
This season of OITNB features more than just Piper’s story; it follows the set of circumstances that brought each inmate and prison guard to Litchfield State Penitentiary. Each flashback tells another story of an inmate’s character, and we finally understand what makes each person unique. If only being unique online was as easy as watching Netflix. To make a brand, company, or agency stand out on social media takes strategy, planning and a little bit of risk-taking. Take a stand on a controversial issue in the industry; wow audiences with a new product or service; or provide audiences with content they actually want to share.  Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to do it with confidence and an innovative mind-set.

pic 44) There’s always a bully
Take the most obvious example, prison guard Mendez. With his inappropriate bribing of inmates, his cover-up of the death of an inmate and his overall corrupt practices, he gets the award for biggest bully at Litchfield. We all thought he was gone for good, but his re-appearance this season was a bit of a stab to the heart. But that’s what bullies do – they always come back. If you’ve ever run a social media campaign, you know the power of trolls and what they can do to audience perceptions. The best way to get rid of them? In most cases its best to ignore them in order to keep from fueling their fire. However it’s important to take each bully on a case-by-base basis. They are looking for a reaction and the less you give them, the less likely they are to come back. Thankfully Mendez is off to prison and (fingers crossed) that’s where he’ll stay.

OITNB5) Change is coming
And it’s happening fast at Litchfield. From the new inmates this season, to Mendez making a short-lived re-appearance to Healy’s “Safe Place” program, and of course the change in prison wardens, big alterations are being alluded to for the next season. If only we didn’t have to wait another year to find out what they are (the only downside of binging on the entire season at once). But you never have to wait long in the social media world for a big change to happen. It seems like every other week, new platforms and features appear, and just the thought of finding ways to capitalize on them is overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to. But you do have to be aware of new platforms as they emerge and understand who is likely to engage with them to make a strategic decision as to whether they can help you reach your goals.

Although many viewers flew through season two in the blink of an eye, these subtle themes made us slow down and realize there’s more to “Orange is the New Black” than prison-yard fights and church alter love affairs. Here’s to hoping these tips on social media last us another year until the sweet sounds of prison banter, handcuffs and guard threats are once again in the air (I mean online).

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