Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. — Or what I learn about social media success from Better Call Saul.

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I sent out my most successful Tweet ever last night.  After over 5 years on The Twitters and nearly 11K Tweets sent, here it is — the peak of my social media career:

A bit of background.

Better Call Saul is a spin-off tv show from the phenomenally successful series Breaking Bad.  (Apparently, BB currently holds the Guinness World Record as the highest-rated TV show of all time.)  Breaking Bad is about a terminally-ill and disgruntled high school chemistry teacher who teams up with his strung-out ex-student to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.  Saul Goodman is his lawyer, advisor, and money launderer.  In addition to his legitimate law practice, Saul could be better termed as an underworld concierge, helping to connect people in a bad spot to people that do bad things for money.  This is his story.

Better Call Saul premiered last night to much hype.  When Breaking Bad was winding down in 2013, it was announced that this spin-off was coming.  Speaking as a fan of BB, it’s been a long wait to return to this world and these characters. Judging from Twitter last night, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

The hashtag #bettercallsaul was trending on Twitter last night for several hours.  Fans were discussing the show’s events as they happened in real time,  posting quotes from the characters, and generally sharing their enthusiasm.  I had to join in!  I quickly composed a message at a point in the show that I found truly confounding, hit “send,” and off to the interwebs it went.

That’s when it happened.  The show’s Twitter handle Retweeted my Tweet!!  They shared my message with their 75K+ fans who were very tuned in at that point, both to the show and to Twitter.  It got Retweeted again, and again, and again.  It got even more people marking it as a “favorite.” (as of this writing, retweets and favs keep coming in)  I’ve also gained about a dozen or two new Twitter followers.

It is by far my single most successful Tweet.  The most interaction I have ever received on Twitter to a single message.  The only times I’ve gotten more action on any social media platform perhaps was when my son was born or when my wife and I changed our Facebook “relationship status” while still at the alter, mid-marriage ceremony.

So, is there anything that we can learn from this stumbled-upon success that could be applied to our social marketing efforts?

The takeaways.

Timing matters.  More specifically, timing and relevance.

“Social Media” no longer happens in a vacuum.  Sure, in its early days, it was a bit of its own world.  Today, social media is as much a part of our ‘real lives’ as is your daily commute and the chicken salad sandwich you packed for lunch.  What happens IRL (old-skul internet speak for “in real life”), is clearly and instantly reflected on social channels.  Nevermind the massive political change that occurred during the “Arab Spring,” which would have been — and was — impossible without Twitter and Facebook.

My Tweet was relevant to the thousands of people watching the show and following the conversation on Twitter at that time.  It was relevant to the plot turns and twists at that very point during the show.  It was relevant to what they were feeling at that time.  Which brings us to…

Authenticity matters.

That was a very authentic Tweet.  I didn’t filter anything.  I didn’t think about it much.  It was my honest feeling at that point during that show — that is to say utter confusion.  Again, I clearly was not the only one.  That message struck a chord with numerous other fans.  Yes, the fact that it was Re-Tweeted by the show helped it get in front of more people.  However, if it wasn’t real, authentic, and relevant, the show wouldn’t have paid attention to it anyway.

Being witty matters. (or at least being witty enough)

If you’re not familiar with the term Whiskey Foxtrot Tango, then look at the first letters of each word and see what acronym it spells out.  If you’re still confused, ask your 12-year old nephew.  It’s a term used to convey confusion and/or disbelief.  I meant to convey both sentiments last night.

Simply Tweeting WTF or the actual expression last night would have been too parochial.  Nobody would have cared about a WTF Tweet — those are a dime a dozen.  Further, had I Tweeted the full f-bomb that the actual experssion includes, the show’s Twitter account would never have Re-Tweeted it.  Although the show is geared toward an adult audience, it’s still a show on basic cable that has to adhere to certain vocabulary standards.   To a large degree, this standard carries through to their social channels.

If you can’t be witty, be just witty enough.  This is a case of “witty enough.”

I was not the first person to use the phonetic alphabet to make a slightly racy comment slightly more acceptable, nor shall I be the last.  I was able to recycle something that’s somewhat funny in a new circumstance to a [new to me] audience.  Sometimes that’s all we need!  Not necessarily 100% new original content, but simply using an old standby in a new way can work just as well.  Rummage around in your brain or toolbox, see what you’ve already got and see if you can repackage it for your current needs.  (I’m working really hard to avoid using the phrase, “No need to re-invent the wheel.”)

Hashtags matter.

This Tweet would have gone nowhere had it not been for the hashtag.  Straight and simple.  If you want to reach your audience talking about a certain topic, do the research. Find the right hashtags to join that conversation.

Clearly, this was an easy one.  Most likely, you need to talk about something specific to your business or however you pay your rent.  Odds are, there’s a Twitter conversation happening around that topic, or close to it.  There are plenty of tools to help you discover and research hashtags.  I enjoy using hashtagify.me, if only because I like the visuals they use to illustrate hashtag relationships.  I’d also recommend you take a look at this great post from Social Media Examiner with several other tools worth checking out.

 

The second part of the Better Call Saul premier airs tonight.  Let’s see if I can top my Tweet from last night!!

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