image credit: Seventeen on YouTube
As a huge fan of the series Shadow and Bone, fixating on the recently released second season has been taking up a lot of my time. The books that they are based on are highly beloved by not only myself but thousands of others, and thus this already generated buzz from the beginning. And when there’s this preconceived anticipation going into something like book-to-screen adaptations, it can be a hard thing to manage. Fans have a certain level of expectation and there’s almost this sense of vulnerability in letting people take the reins of these characters and storylines that resonate so deeply with existing fans that there is a sort of protectiveness over as a result, when it comes to doing them justice. Navigating this is no easy feat and yet the entire team behind this show has done it with such grace. I could gush about the specifics of this within the show itself for ages, but their social media marketing has also felt noticeably gripping, putting on an authentic showcase that really serves to elevate the elements fans are looking to get from this series. They seem to have nailed it in a way other shows have struggled to do and two recent videos (https://tinyurl.com/jeudaky8 and https://tinyurl.com/mwx9ta6u) I watched that took a more in-depth look at this got me inspired to talk about it as well.
image credit: @shadowandbone on Instagram
I think a big part of why the marketing and the press tour surrounding this release has felt so organic and that much more “real” and appealing, is simply because it is. This TikTok posted by one of the cast members and the caption accompanying it, is just one example in proof of this. But whether you believe it to be real or fabricated, this element plays undeniably well into what the story they’re trying to tell is all about. A cornerstone of this series, and something that is a well-loved talking point among fans is the aspect of “found family.” These people, who are thrust together by their circumstances and in the process end up coming to develop this profound love and care for each other, a second family. It seems the cast themselves, in coming together to bring this show to life, have done the same. There is an inarguable sense of chemistry between the castmates, and this is something that the marketing team has really allowed to shine in the promotion of this season. And, despite the fact that there were new major characters added this season and thus cast members who hadn’t been a part of the group quite as long, you’d never be able to tell this looking at behind the scenes footage and interviews. This also aids the less serious, more human side of things people are looking for from the content they consume these days. Celebrities have been made to feel more accessible than ever before through social media and by showing the more lighthearted, “what’s going on in between takes?” side of things, particularly in a show that deals a lot with darker, heavier, subject matter, people are able to better relate to and feel a deeper sense of connection to the production.
Here’s some of the aforementioned behind-the-scenes photos:
all images belong to @shadowandbone on Instagram
Building on the previous point of cast chemistry, something that’s stood out pretty significantly to me is the nature of the press junkets the cast has been doing. Firstly, the format of interviews they’ve leaned into is highly effective. When I typically watch interviews for TV shows and movies, the best ones are almost always the ones where the cast themselves are given sole control of the interview. When a moderator or interviewer is introduced, there seems to be a greater sense of awkwardness and just general reservation that isn’t there when it’s the cast alone. This makes sense of course, as the cast is already well-acquainted with each other and so there is a greater sense of comfort and lessened sense of inhibition. This is where a lot of that authenticity comes in, as you get the sense that this is what their time together might look like on a day-to-day basis, with call-backs to past memories together, and even inside jokes referenced. It really drives home the point that this cast has immense chemistry with one another. Another big thing is the topics of these interviews. They’re making sure to do a lot of upbeat, fun prompts, with things like “try not to laugh”, “who knows who best”, “guess the emoji”, reading thirst Tweets, and more. These scenarios readily open the door for them to just have a good time and be silly from the get-go, again giving fans a greater sense of the personality behind the screen and deepening the impression of the bond between castmates.
The third thing that they’ve done a great job of, both on the cast’s part and the social media team’s part, is knowing and listening to their audience. Again, because there is already a whole series of books telling this story, fans want to feel like the actors portraying their favourite characters know what their characters are all about. This is especially important in this scenario due to the very intricately woven plotlines and serious topics that, despite being set in a fantasy world, are all too real for many fans on even some level. Luckily, this is another topic that the cast has heavily focused on during press. Cleverly, the Netflix has released several videos of the actors watching and commenting on select significant scenes for their characters across their social media platforms. In hearing these discussions, it is clear these actors have done their research. They have a deep grasp of the nuances of their characters beyond what has been touched upon on screen, making it clear that they have read the books, and diligently at that. Again, as a huge fan, I can vouch for this. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the comments from other fans under this video. On this note, the social media accounts for the series as well have been very perceptive to what fans want and posting as such. And again, have a good grasp of the characters and the books and have spun this knowledge into engagement with their audience. They even had a popular content creator who has taken on this sort of role of spokesperson for fans of the series to host the official premiere of the show, flying her out to Los Angeles and having her do a social media takeover on the official Shadow and Bone Instagram account. And again, the people running the social media also know not to take themselves to seriously, participating in the “fangirling” for lack of a better word, that is constantly going on.
The following is a list of just recent Tweets and posts Retweeted by the official Shadow and Bone Twitter as examples:
All in all, it’s clear that the Shadow and Bone marketing team knows how to set things up for success. Their strategies have been highlighting everything we tend to look for as fans, and thus this is a great look at social media monitoring and marketing done right. I’d highly recommend the first two videos I linked for a look at some more specific examples of their smart moves, but more than that, I’d recommend that you go stream Shadow and Bone on Netflix (not sponsored, though I wish it was).
Fan or not, Shadow & Bone can teach us all a lesson when it comes to social media: https://tinyurl.com/yc58v4cy
Netflix’s Shadow and Bone- a crash course in social media marketing: https://tinyurl.com/yc58v4cy