How Can 'Orange Is The New Black' Be A Social Media Model & Blackhat Tactic?

One of the biggest hit television series to put Netflix on the digital map was Orange is the New Black. It helped break new ground for an online network that was successful in converting TV watching from the living room to your desktops, laptops and mobile devices. In so doing, its scored 12 Emmy nominations, super-sized the paradigm of online buzz and converted a team of fans -- who beyond being addicted -- have become the show's greatest advocacy group and marketing machine.

However, counterbalancing the virality of this show is the belief by some, that social media has jumped the shark and has become SEO's latest blackhat tactic. Google, the granddaddy of search engines and its infamous ever-morphing algorithm is continually on the look-out for nefarious practices that game the system in search of the Internet's 'holy grail' of higher-ranking SERPs (search engine result pages).

The Survey Says. . .

In taking a look at two surveys we can begin to understand how today's Social Media is both a blessing and a curse. In the recent TekGroup Social Media News survey, 38 percent of the respondents used social media to promote products, services and/or their own personal brands. They spend 1 to 2 hours a day, with almost 90 percent saying they use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks on a daily basis to follow and monitor a brand's news and information.

On the flipside, after tracking over 300,000 websites, a recent study by Shareholic points to social-media referrals leading to 30 percent of a website's overall traffic. According to Forbes' contributing writer John Rampton, "the old trend was to try and scam Google using Black Hat SEO tricks and the new trend is to try and trick Google and users using Social Media as the New Black!"

Magnetic Marketing has something to do with it. . .

Dissimilar to old-school ‘push’ and ‘pull’ advertising, magnetic marketing is a by-product of the social media space that bonds the seller and the buyer together in an intrinsic way to push past ROE (return on engagement), resulting in a significant ROI (return on investment).

Brands that have learned to become proficient with this technique are keenly aware that the time to reach out to a customer is during the time that both are traversing the same wavelength, where the interests of the buyers and the sellers are aligned and can meld in a very natural way. Magnetic marketing is when the consumer and brand are drawn together at the right time and the right place, without the need for either side to take an aggressive action - but yet conduct business in a meaningful way.

Netflix has mastered this phenomenon. With shows like Orange is the New Black, they've the positioned the program to fish where the fish are. As users surf to take in an episode online, they can just as easily multi-task by live-tweeting with cast members, send updates to their Facebook page or post images to their Flickr account - using only one device (versus the cumbersomness of switching from your TV set to the Internet). The ease of this magnetic connection puts both buyer and seller at the same touch points of the brand-customer continuum, while converting this watching audience into engaged advocates -- or in essence, an extension of the show's marketing force.

However, social media does have its dark side. Many TV watchers think they will appear more relevant to their fellow TV watchers if they have more followers. They purchase fans, create fake profiles, cloak deceptive content and reviews and purchase views and likes to make them appear on the surface as if they're popular. Unfortunately, as Google has determined in the past with it's Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird algo reconfigurations, it can't be fooled - prompting them to look past face value and under the hood.

Jailed by Netflix or Google?

So while Netflix has proven to be exceedingly successful in pushing the boundaries of social media marketing, that new terrain should not include Black Hat tactics. History has proven it. Google hasn't allowed these practices to persist in the past - and we're sure that as time progresses you'll see more and more algo revisions that target these transgressions in the future.

So, while Orange is the New Black's prison venue might prove a great place to be visit from time-to-time, be aware that being jailed by Google for infractions of this type is not the place you want to find yourself in the long-run.