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So, before you all run away because of the high levels of fangirl squee associated with Teen Wolf, hear me out. The folks running social media for Teen Wolf are hands down, no contest, the best at playing with and engaging fans in their native habitats. They use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and YouTubers (large and small) in a seamless conversation, elevating the conversation around the show to “trending topics” status.
Moreover, it isn’t just the official MTV Teen Wolf owned media accounts leading the way, but also the cast and crew of the show and its fans. They all make the ecosystem work symbiotically. The way the Teen Wolf team engages their emerging fans, partners with their famous fans, and handles social media across platforms, makes Teen Wolf the leader of the the pack when it comes to cultivating a fandom through both earned media and owned media.
Emerging Fans: The story of Quinn Wentz
On January 5th 2014, Teen Wolf fan Quinn Wentz uploaded a song to YouTube called “War”, based on the trailer for Teen Wolf’s Season 3B:
To see where he drew his inspiration, here is the official trailer promo:
As a musician, Quinn Wentz goes by the name “Former Vandal”, and his music video seen above is amazing. When the video first went up, he had 53 subscribers and his channel mostly consisted of vlogs.
On January 5th, 2014, Quinn tweeted the release of the video to share with some other Teen Wolf fans:
— Quinn Wentz (@quinnmwentz) January 6, 2014
Then, on January 9th, Quinn tweets directly at the official Twitter for Teen Wolf, rather than just mentioning @MTVteenwolf in a tweet:
This catches MTV’s attention, as he succeeds in getting a response, which opens up the floodgates:
.@quinnmwentz um, this is incredible. super, super impressed! xoxo
— TEEN WOLF (@MTVteenwolf) January 9, 2014
Ian Bohen, the actor who plays the character Peter Hale on the show, also tweets at Quinn:
Chrystal Reed, an actress who plays Allison Argent, weighs in as well:
The video garnered an initial 17,000 views, which then jumped to 48,000 views after MTV used his fan created video as official promo for the show on January 27th. And of course, the promo came with its own social media push by MTV on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Here is the video on MTV’s official channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg7Uwmug6TQ MTV also took to Twitter and Facebook to share in the excitement with the fans:
Between then and now, Quinn has done more vlogging on his channel, Teen Wolf reviews on Tuesdays, as well as more original music. While none of his content has hit quite as big on YouTube as “War”, Teen Wolf launched major growth for his channel.
As a result of the season finale of the show, Wentz made a tribute song, which got picked up again by official Teen Wolf channels and garnered close to 20,000 views in 6 days, which is impressive for a channel of his size. [SPOILERS AHEAD]:
Once again, MTV shared the love on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr:
— TEEN WOLF (@MTVteenwolf) March 27, 2014
Quinn Wentz is the every-fan. A socially ‘plugged in on every platform,’ ‘squeeing in public’ young person with talent and perseverance. His story is one other fans can aspire to, through being touched by the objects/subjects of their fandom.
Quinn Wentz, by being a fan, has fans of his own. A playlist on his channel features fan videos using his song “War.” He includes the MTV official promo as a fan video of his fan video.
Teen Wolf’s relationship with YouTubers extends beyond just Quinn, or course. Yet, in a world where following is the new autograph, Quinn Wentz’s social media existence has been validated in a way that could be the springboard for his future, if leveraged the right way. And, let’s face it, after Tyler Oakley professed himself as a “professional fangirl,” who wouldn’t want to do that for a living? This brings us to…
Famous Fans: The FANtastic Show, The Teen Wolf After After Show, Pack Reacts, and Wolf Watch
MTV also works with big YouTubers. Tyler Oakley hosted a show for MTV in season 3A called The FANtastic Show, where he chatted with some of the cast after every episode for MTV.com. Oakley was a fan of Teen Wolf before getting pulled by MTV to do some of their productions. Sometimes other fans would be on as well.
For Season 3B, MTV chose a younger YouTuber, Lohanthony, to do The Teen Wolf After, After Show for MTV.com chatting and reacting with the cast to that night’s episode. This show also includes behind the scenes clips and reels.
Pack Reacts is a show for MTV.com done in the style of Lohanthony’s vlogs, where he gets to be a fan of fans. He gives his commentary on reactions from each week’s episodes. Fan reactions come in video form via Instagram with #packreacts.
Wolf Watch is all of the cast doing a talk show type show that Skypes each week with a different fan, known as the Alpha of the Week. They pick fans that make some of the best fan art, music, fanvids etc. In Season 3, Episode 21 of Wolf Watch, fan Julia Jones video chats about making another Teen Wolf song that got featured in an official MTV promo for the show.
All four of these shows are available on MTV.com to help fans digest what they just saw, see more from the cast, and learn all about the fans of the show. These shows are plugged into the fans and influencers who reach the audience MTV wants, which keeps audiences within the MTV ecosystem.
Teen Wolf and Everyone Involved are Genuinely Fans of Fans
This supreme level of geekery, attention to detail and interaction with fans fosters genuine community. Being platform agnostic helps. Fans express themselves across all platforms, especially young fans, so it should seem apparent that going where they are and speaking the languages they speak are vital to the show’s success.
There are so many after-shows in video form because that is the medium that penetrates audiences most deeply. Fan videos do this too. Teen Wolf makes expert GIFs and the cast is well aware of doing GIF-bate things (where they move around weirdly, knowing fans will make GIFs of that motion).
It is important to note that this fandom is one that makes fanvids and ships characters hardcore. The fans are so involved in Teen Wolf that the writers have even thrown the fans some lines, referencing what fans latch on to, like Isaac’s scarf (a character spotted wearing scarves in multiple episodes).
The reason why Teen Wolf is such a great example for brands is because it is a great example of letting social media managers do their jobs well, and viewing all social media platforms, official paratextual elements of the show, and the show itself, as a giant conversation. The official channels engage genuinely and create relationships with the fans of the show and for that the fans have built a fiercely loyal fandom, generating earned media across the internet and preaching the gospel of the show.
Yes, it is on MTV. No, it is nothing like the 1980s film. Yes, the show is genuinely good, but the best part just might be the breadth and depth of the audience. And yes, they are a case study worth noting for their exceptional understanding of the fans across platforms, and their willingness to promote their earned media and empower the fans every chance they can.
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