If you’ve logged into Facebook or Twitter over the past few days, you’re probably well aware that it’s Shark Week. The annual weeklong programming event—now in its 25th year—continues to gather steam, which is fueled even more by Discovery Channel’s clever use of multiple social media channels.
Shark Week’s official Twitter account
has nearly 100,000 followers, but the account doesn’t merely push out updates. By monitoring for tweets about Shark Week, the moderators can observe the conversation and reply when other users ask the Twittersphere what Shark Week is all about.
The Shark Week team also responds to fans who are excited to watch the programming, cementing that good relationship. Here is just one example:
This year, Discovery Channel has partnered with Georgia Aquarium to present a Shark Cam
, powered by Ustream. Georgia Aquarium and Discovery Channel have representatives on hand to interact with shark fanatics about what they are watching through the #SharkCam hashtag and on Ustream’s social chat component.
Another first for Shark Week, Discovery Channel is using YouTube celebrity Philip DeFranco to host an all-social-media contest. Every night, DeFranco asks people to choose what a giant mechanical shark will crush with its steely jaws by voting through Twitter or a live poll on Facebook.
DeFranco’s more than 2 million YouTube channel subscribers, 300,000 Twitter followers, and 430,000 Facebook fans offers Shark Week a socially engaged audience to share its message.
Even on social media outlets that do not have an official Shark Week presence, rabid fans are taking over. A quick search on Pinterest
for Shark Week returns result after result of Shark Week themed cupcakes, snacks, decorations, and drinking games.
By finding social media channels that work for its audience and thoroughly engaging with them, Shark Week continues to grow its fan base, many of whom practically view the week as a holiday to celebrate. Shark Week stands—or swims—as a great example of an integrated, multiplatform campaign.
In fact, Shark Week had almost 30 million viewers last year. Not bad for a program that began as an idea on the back of a cocktail napkin
Sarah Jones is an account executive at Cookerly Public Relations, where a version of this story first appeared. Her Twitter handle is @sjoneswrites.