5 key Social Media learnings from X Factor


Whether you’re an X Factor fan or one of their many haters, there is a lot learn from the social media published by prime time television shows. For disclosure, I should say we’re working across X Factor this year, through one of their sponsors; but this is not a rally cry for fans, nor is it an attempt to laud false praise on our partners. Genuinely, there is a lot to be learned from X Factor.

Consider this:

  • How many times have you cancelled publishing content as it’s not ready?
  • How frequently do you push deadlines because the designers are running behind or the copy isn’t just quite right?
  • Have you cancelled content for fear of upsetting a small percentage of your audience?
  • Are you are still to use the latest Facebook advertising functions, just because you’ve not managed to get to it yet?
  • Are you worried about publishing the same old stuff again?

Now contemplate this:

  • The likes of X Factor is a live show, so not being ready isn’t an excuse Mr. Cowell would accept. Have you seen how he reacts to ill-prepared contestants? Imagine what he would say to his content producers if they were not set to go?
  • At 1930 on a Saturday evening and 2000 on a Sunday, X Factor is live to millions of viewers. The online conversation roars with similar numbers again, and most weeks the show trends on social. The content has to be ready, otherwise the X Factor audience would chastise the show, or worse still, have the conversation without them participating
  • There are a lot of X Factor haters out there. There are also a lot of X Factor lovers. The producers know they can’t please everyone. They live for the fans; the believers; those who want to support a platform that permits dreams to come true and audiences to observe that wonderful journey. The X Factor team allows haters to hate. They focus on delighting their fans who love them. Brands could learn a lot from their rhino like skin and how they focus on the good
  • A show that attracts over 7million viewers a week and more than 10million for the live final, has to embrace the latest technology and platform functionality. Part of the fun is trialling what works and what doesn’t. Not everything will fly, but when it does, you want your brand riding the flight. How awful would it be seeing your nearest and dearest making something special happen online, just because they were a little bolder and more innovative than you?
  • X Factor is in its 13th season. After 13-years of the same show format, it’s fair to assume most content types and formats have already been done. Broadly, the same story exists, albeit with subtle changes each year; for example, this year we’ve seen the Wall of Songs at Bootcamp and we now have the Jukebox on a Sunday night, to determine the following weeks’ show theme. Beyond that, the story and format is the same. X Factor understand that it is perfectly ok to ‘rinse and repeat’ content, so long as it’s relevant to your audience

So what should I learn from this?

  1. Commit to a content production schedule with clear deadlines
  2. Commit to a rigorous posting plan that consistently disseminates content across your social channels
  3. Accept you will receive negative comments and posts, in the same way your customer service team will receive telephone complaints. Address the warranted complaints and learn from them. Ignore the irrational haters whom have nothing better to do with their Saturday night. They’re hecklers; randoms; keyboard warriors whom feel slightly better about themselves for sharing irrational content that humours their small communities on a marginal level
  4. Embrace social channels and their functions. Play with Facebook Live, Canvas and Carousel Ads. Discover what other functions exist on your entire social estate and trial them all. Figure out what works for your brand and what could be innovative within your industry
  5. It’s ok to rinse and repeat content – so long as it’s relevant. We call this content ‘Evergreen Content’. It’s content that is relevant whenever it’s posted. Evergreen Content should be the backbone of your social plan


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