Shareablee Exclusive Series: Funny or Die

Published on Jun 17th, 2015

by Kara Lawson

Funny or Die has seen a 123% growth in total social actions (sum of all likes, comments, shares, favorites and retweets across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) since January 2015, outpacing the overall Publishing industry’s 19% growth. In light of its massive success, Shareablee conducted a Q&A with Funny or Die’s VP of Marketing & Distribution, Patrick Starzan, to find out the key strategies and tactics driving their social success.

  1. Since January, Funny or Die has seen a 123% growth in social engagement across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (outpacing the Publishing industry's 19% growth). From your standpoint, which social strategies can this growth be attributed to?

We take a very disciplined approach to our social media strategy. There are three attributes that contribute to our success in social engagement: content, consistency, and data. Funny Or Die’s social strategy starts with the content and asking the question:

“How does this benefit the people following us?”

We treat each platform as a unique community with specific content expectations and preferences. We have built a social media team focused solely on creating and distributing content on social.

We’re also very consistent on social. Each platform follows a daily content calendar. Setting and then meeting a user’s expectations about what they will receive when they follow us has been tremendously effective in driving engagement.

Last, is data. We are a completely data-driven team. We track every single post across all our platforms, including timing (day of week, time of day) content type, and copy character length along with their corresponding engagement metrics.

Social media success is a long-term strategy, not a short-term one. You have to invest the time to cultivate communities and understand their needs and how your content can help meet those needs.

Congrats to Will Ferrell for being the new face of Little Debbie!

A photo posted by Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) on Mar 19, 2015 at 4:20pm PDT

  1. How did you first become involved in social media?

We were early adopters of social media starting back in 2007 and joined the platforms (Facebook and Twitter) out of necessity. Funny Or Die had just launched and we didn’t have a marketing budget, so my marketing strategies focused on building owned and earned programs.  Working out of Silicon Valley, we saw the potential social had as an owned distribution channel and started developing our strategies very early to increase traffic and brand awareness. This gave us instant credibility as early adopters, along with a lot of time to fail, learn, and grow.

  1. How important is social media in your organization? Do you see this expanding as social activity continues to grow, and if so in what ways?

Social media is part of Funny Or Die’s DNA. We spend a lot of time developing, growing, and adjusting to the ever-evolving social landscape. We are currently on 17 different platforms, with over 30M total followers. More and more people are consuming content on third-party platforms, so we want to ensure Funny Or Die has a strong presence on every platform on which we feel people would enjoy our content.

  1. Which social platforms are your key focus, and why? Where do you see the most potential?

We focus on two types of platforms: core and emerging. Core platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms that have established long-term success with 100M+ users. Emerging platforms are platforms we feel have potential to grow, and we devote resources into becoming early adopters, such as Periscope and Meerkat. Hopefully, the platforms we focus on in our emerging portfolio eventually become parts of our core portfolio. We focus on both because for core we want to make sure the Funny Or Die brand is where large groups of people are, and for emerging we want to be early adopters so we can grow with the platforms and fail and learn with them.

I feel the most potential right now is on Snapchat, Periscope, and Meerkat. Snapchat because they are really starting to focus on content and have a large and highly engaged user base. Periscope and Meerkat because it’s a completely new and interesting way of creating live interactive content.

  1. Best advice you would give to a social media manager when it comes to creating social content? How can brands learn from media companies, about what to post/how to speak to their audiences?

Always be asking, “How does this content benefit my audience?” People need to feel a benefit from following you on social. If you can’t provide one, people will either ignore or stop following you.

This answer applies to both questions.

  1. Anything else about new trends or best practices in social media that you're excited about, that we should have asked you?

Yes! I am really excited about the return of MySpace and curating my Top 8….kidding they aren’t (but they should! Are they? Why wouldn’t they? Can someone get Tom on the phone??)

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