If Twitter can save Conan, it can certainly revive your leisure brand.

November 10, 2010

Promo ads like this first appeared on the Team Coco blog.

Conan’s social media strategy may have saved the late night talk show host’s career.  And could save your brand from irrelevance.

Social Media Safari Question #6:  I’ve heard that Twitter has helped the careers of several TV celebrities? Which ones are doing it right?

My favorite recent story is Conan O’Brien.

On January 22nd of 2010, Conan O’Brien hosted his last show on NBC.

After NBC cut Conan from its lineup the popular late night talk show host’s career was in jeopardy.

To make matters worse, Conan’s $45 million buyout from the network stipulated that he couldn’t do any TV appearances until the following September.

So Conan opened up a new line of communication with fans and started broadcasting on Twitter.

On February 22, 2010 Conan broadcast his first tweet.

By that first night 45,000 fans were following Conan on Twitter.

Within two days, 375,000 fans had discovered him on Twitter. It didn’t take Conan and his staff long to realize they were on to something big.

Within weeks they had developed an entire social strategy to keep his fans engaged during his absence from television.

The strategy centered on a network of social sites they dubbed “Team Coco.”

The sites included a blog, Facebook and My Space pages, YouTube channel, as well as Twitter, Flickr and tumbler feeds.

This network of sites kept fans engaged through a combination of :

  • Photos of Conan and his team of writers working.
  • Fan polls.
  • First releases of posters, print ads and promotional TV spots that would later run on TBS.
  • A series of hilarious videos that explained what he was doing with his free time.
  • Regular announcements about developments at the new show (including the news that Andy Richter would be returning and what the name of the show would be).
  • A website that allowed fans to follow the movements of a Team Coco blimp that traveled across the country.
  • The result was that by the time his new show aired, 4.2 million fans were anxiously waiting to watch.

Conan's YouTube channel made it easy for fans to find their favorite videos.

Conan's Facebook page offered free tickets to the show for the winner of the Conanize Your Costume contest.

Some of Conan’s social successes included:

  • Almost 2 million followers on Twitter.
  • 11 million views of his videos on the Team Coco YouTube channel.
  • Nearly 1.5 million fans on his two Facebook pages.
  • Beating Leno and Letterman in the ratings war on his first night back on TV.

Conan’s social success can teach leisure marketing pros at least four lessons:

  1. Social media can keep your leisure brand visible when you can’t be on TV.
  2. Twitter is a great way to broadcast regular messages to your followers.
  3. Original and engaging content is the most valuable currency of a social media program.
  4. To properly leverage social media you have to push each social medium to its fullest advantage.

Looking for more answers to your social media questions?  Check out these other posts in our 10-part Social Media Safari Series:

  1. Does social media really work for marketing leisure brands?
  2. How much should I budget for social media?
  3. 10 social media campaigns that produced real results.
  4. 2 social media success stories utilizing limited budgets.
  5. What Coca Cola, Starbucks and Oreo can teach you about leisure marketing on Facebook.
  6. The Top 10 social media thought leaders.
  7. 11 ways businesses are using Twitter to promote their brands.
  8. If Twitter can save Conan, it can certainly revive your leisure brand.
  9. 15 valuable resources for social media novices.
  10. 20 ways to make sure your leisure marketing campaign goes viral.


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