How 50 Cent’s ‘Power’ used Twitter to build a cult following
Category : entrepreneur
- Starz drama series “Power” has a fandom so dedicated that viewers have made it one of the most engaged-with shows across platforms.
- David Muehl, VP of digital marketing for the network, attributed the drama’s popularity on social media to a combination of creative campaigns and earned media from fans.
- The mid-season finale of season six aired this month, and it generated even more Twitter engagement than the last episode of season five.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Starz says “Power” is its most-watched franchise. And its dedicated fans aren’t just watching; they’re talking — and often debating.
The show is halfway through its sixth and final season, but even well before its season premier, it was getting more social interaction than competitors like “Empire,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “Fear the Walking Dead,” according to Nielsen’s social content ratings.
David Muehl, Starz VP of digital marketing, credited that interaction with social creative from the show’s marketing team and an already vocal fanbase.
“Heading into this final season, our strategy was just to lean into the fans as much as possible and encourage them to be our word-of-mouth ambassadors,” Muehl told Business Insider.
“Power” stars Omari Hardwick as James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a nightclub owner who wants to turn legitimate, although he has strong connections to New York City’s drug trade.
Fans of the drama are firmly divided into two camps: Those who support Ghost and those who side with Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora), Ghost’s former best friend and business partner-turned-enemy after a major manipulation in season five. Nowhere is this rivalry more prominent than on Twitter, where fans often debate the merits of their favorite characters.
Starz leaned into the fan passion. It created the “Team Ghost” and “Team Tommy” Twitter accounts in July, encouraging fans to show their loyalty and follow for exclusive content. Most “Power” fans side with Ghost; the Team Tommy Twitter account has just over 9,000 followers, while Team Ghost has almost 13,000.
On the day the pages launched, Twitter conversation about “Power” spiked 820%, according to Starz. The show racked up more than 850,000 Twitter mentions throughout the campaign, and the day season six premiered, #PowerTV trended organically at no. 1 in the US on Twitter.
The season six premier also was the most social primetime series episode across all broadcast, cable, and syndicated networks, according to Starz, in addition to being the second-most watched cable drama opener of the year behind “Game of Thrones,” Deadline’s Dominic Patten reported.
‘Power’ marketing team capitalizes on Twitter to build fan engagement, but fandom starts with a dynamic plot, according to Starz executive
“Power” seems constructed for fandom, with plenty of dramatic plot moments and complicated relationships between characters, according to Muehl.
The show’s Twitter accounts and its actors supplement fans’ engagement. Joseph Sikora, who plays Tommy, showed up to a fan-organized screening of the show at a Brooklyn theater as a surprise to show his appreciation for the fandom, according to Muehl.
“The fans have been so supportive and loyal that it’s important for us to reward them,” Muehl said.
It also doesn’t hurt that Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson starred in and executive produces the show, bringing with him a preexisting fanbase. He also advocated for the show’s prominence in the Starz lineup, persuading the network not to air it on Saturday nights when TV viewership is low.
50 Cent’s efforts, as well as the social marketing pushes, have paid off in season six more than ever before. Episode 10, the mid-season finale, aired Nov. 3 with over 130,000 Twitter mentions, up 38% from the season five finale, according to Starz. “Power” also trended on Twitter when it was released on the Starz app at midnight.
“Power” doesn’t have the same recognition as “Game of Thrones,” but its engaged fans’ social chatter serves as free advertising for the show, and the resulting word-of-mouth marketing can be more influential than traditional marketing, Muehl said.
“When the ad is coming from someone you know, it really helps spread the word and gets more people talking about the show,” Muehl said.