How Sharknado Took Twitter By Storm

Olyvia Zfira is a Client Services intern.

What happens when a freak storm hits a US coast for the second year in a row? Apparently, you tweet about it. The liv1Syfy network has created a franchise around sharks flying from the sky and it’s called Sharknado. If you’ve never heard of it, it probably means one of three things: you haven’t been on Twitter in the past week, you don’t ride any public transportation or most likely you have been living under a rock. It all started last year when Syfy created this low budget movie for Shark Week and received an absurd amount of success from it with 1.4 million viewers on the night of its debut with an estimated 500,000 tweets per minute. As if one wasn’t crazy enough, Syfy put out Sharknado2: The Second One last week and the reach was astonishing. Not only did Syfy’s movie pull in 3.9 million views and almost 600,000 tweets, they did it without any traditional advertisements.

That’s right, no traditional advertisements. So how does a made-to-be-bad movie do so well? There was a good amount of product placement as well as some well-timed social media. For example Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is seen eating a subway sandwich in front of a subway billboard and Subway tweeted this the night before the movie.

Yet most of the movie’s success can be attributed to both word-of-mouth and brandsliv2 jumping on the fishy pun bandwagon. Since the end of the first movie about a year ago, Sharknado stayed relevant on Twitter and received a lot of attention only to increase its popularity in preparation for this year’s sequel. When Sharknado2 aired last week, it not only generated close to 600,000 tweets, but also an estimated one billion Twitter impressions. According to Mashable, tliv3hat’s 65 million more impressions than the second most social show that night, America’s Got Talent. Talk about a hot topic. It wasn’t just the product placement and word of mouth that brought about this much success though. Brands ranging from Doritos to the Metropolitan Museum of Art created “puny” tweets to get followers interested and talking.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that Syfy unintentionally nailed this one and left us all with a lesson: if you are looking for a way to have an unbelievable presence on social media, think of the craziest scenario and bring it to life.


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