Back to the Future (One Last Time?) Over Social Media

Using Social Media Monitoring to Illuminate Brand Opportunities for Future Fan Engagement

‘Great Scott!’ is it really over? While the re-release of Back to the Future Part II has passed and the long awaited day of October 21, 2015 is behind us—one of the most beloved and iconic film serieses of our youth now being set entirely in the past—it is clear that its place in our hearts is far from finished. There was an overwhelming turnout on social media during the last “future” week, with 3,744,922 posts on Twitter and Tumblr combined.
Words from 2015-10-18 to 2015-10-22
On Twitter, beyond general excitement and sharing of the day from BTTF fans discussing the films and the iconic characters, we can also see a number of media outlets and brands jumping in on the action. We can see these efforts are highly retweeted and favorited with Twitter users.
Brand-Tweets-Twitter

But who is the audience for these efforts?

AffinitiesDay And Time from 2015-10-18 to 2015-10-22 (1)
Here, we can uncover a profile of the audience for the Back to the Future discussion and these brand efforts. In the above graphic, we can see Back to the Future interests on the left while general Twitter population interests are compared on the right. In addition to strongly resonating interests that are highly relevant to Back to the Future discussion, (Filmmakers, Alan Moore, Star Trek, Star Wars, Science Fiction, Comics etc.), we can also see an audience that is interested in the advertising and the efforts of the brands, appearing in affinities in Advertising, Writing, and Digital Media.
However, we can see that the audience has less interest in some more ‘mainstream’ affinity segments such as Beauty, Fashion, Basketball, and Disney, as well as some pop culture icons such as Justin Bieber or One Direction. This illustrates that the conversation and brand efforts is highly effective at engaging the diehard fans of the BTTF franchise, while revealing an opportunity with a younger, and less specialized, audience who has interests in the media as well as pop culture phenomenon.
How can brands extend their reach and engage addition audiences with this conversation?  
Increasing brand awareness and engaging new audiences and fans is often about getting the right content in front of the right audience. Turning to one of the fastest growing platforms for a creative and vocal millennial audience, we examined the wealth of engagement with the Back to the Future conversation. There were a striking 856,748 posts on Tumblr the week of Back to the Future Day, with the majority of posts clustering on the day of (578,654) and diminishing after that. Below, we can track the most prolific topics of conversation, seeing discussion of the re-release of Back to the Future Part II, time bending conversation and laments at the passage of the film into the past, as well as discussion of beloved characters Doc and Marty and the creative content that bloggers have built.
Topic-Waves-BTTF-TumblrThrough top tags and top reblog metrics, we can see a wealth of highly creative content, uncovering an audience who is highly engaged and passionate about design and innovative efforts.
Tumblr-Top-Content
We can get to the heart of understanding this audience through uncovering their contextualizing interests. The audience that is posting about Back to the Future Day on Tumblr is established on Tumblr as one of the biggest and most prolific communities. In the graphic below, we can see that the majority of interests are skewing heavily to the right, indicating high resonance with the Back to the Future conversation. In these interests, we can see highly prolific and influential segments such as Marvel, Harry Potter, Art, Anime, Disney, Multifandom, as well as many other many pop culture references and highly followed TV shows such as ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Once Upon a Time’, and ‘Sherlock’. (This showing interest from both what we can term ‘savvy geeks’ as well as ‘mainstream pop followers.’) It can be seen then, that high value organic posts from influencers on Tumblr are shared and proliferated through a vast network. This is a great opportunity for brands to take part, securing exponential growth and reach for its content due to this prolific audience’s engagement.
Back-to-the-Future-Tumblr-Affinities
With continued social media monitoring like this, brands can maximize the power of their creative, not only capturing the diehard fans through one source, but also broadening their reach and capturing a younger, millennial, and highly prolific audience. With these insights, Tumblr can be seen as a fruitful site for brands to extend excellent engagement with millennial consumers who are also interested in the topic, but may be engaging in a new way. This is a great opportunity for brands to get even more creative too, not only producing memes or GIFs themselves, but calling on fans to share their best creative with the brand.

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