Netflix’s Strategic Use of Social Media Clips to Drive More Traffic

Content may be king — but context is the kingdom. As companies vie for consumer attention across various platforms, the strategic use of social media clips has emerged as a powerful tool to boost engagement and drive traffic.

Netflix’s recent strategy of posting clips on social media platforms exemplifies this trend, revealing a sophisticated approach to content marketing that leverages snippets of their extensive catalog to captivate an online audience.

This blog post explores the impact of posting clips on social media, how it enhances viewer engagement, and the broader implications for content strategy in the streaming era.

Jacqueline Foster
Demand Generation Marketing,

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The Power of Clips in Social Media Marketing

Social media clips, ranging from short teasers to longer segments, serve as an effective tool for capturing the limited attention span of digital audiences. These clips are designed to be easily consumable, shareable and enticing enough to drive traffic from social media platforms back to the company’s main service — in this case, Netflix’s streaming platform.

Netflix’s strategy involves a calculated selection of clips from their popular shows and movies, which are then posted across various social media platforms including YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.

For instance, for the popular show Grace and Frankie, Netflix posts trailers, bloopers, behind the scenes, and fun shorts like “Top Things I Learned From Grace & Frankie” on YouTube:

Netflix's Social Media Clips strategy includes posting clips of Grace and Frankie on YouTube

This approach helps maintain top-of-mind awareness and, with the right social media clips, gets viewers excited about going to the streaming platform to watch the full episode/season/series.

And, of course, Netflix wouldn’t be Netflix if they didn’t know how to meticulously select clips that highlight the most intriguing, funny or dramatic moments of their shows and movies.

Netflix’s strategic content curation turns clips into mini advertisements, packed with appeal — and a CTA back to their platform.

Cross-Platform Engagement

By distributing these clips across multiple social media platforms, Netflix takes advantage of the unique features and audiences of each one. For instance:

  • On YouTube, longer clips can delve deeper into storylines, appealing to users who are seeking more comprehensive previews.
  • Instagram, with its visual focus, is ideal for eye-catching moments and behind-the-scenes content that cater to a visually-oriented audience.
  • TikTok, known for its viral nature, suits quick, catchy clips that are likely to be shared and recreated by users.

Each platform thereby serves as a conduit that funnels viewers with varying preferences and behaviors towards Netflix’s streaming service.

Netflix’s clip strategy is not an isolated tactic. It’s part of a broader cross-promotional campaign that includes advertisements on other media platforms. For instance, while Netflix posts content on YouTube (both full movies and clips), it also engages in reciprocal advertising, where platforms like YouTube can place their ads on Netflix, creating a synergistic relationship that benefits both entities.

Benefits of Posting Clips on Social Media

Netflix uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze viewer preferences and social media trends, allowing them to tailor their clip selections to the tastes of diverse demographic groups. By highlighting the most engaging scenes — be it thrilling sequences, funny moments or poignant dialogues — Netflix effectively uses clips as teasers that entice viewers to discover more.

Here are a few benefits of a social media clip strategy:

Enhanced Discoverability and SEO

Social media clips help improve discoverability through SEO tactics. When these clips go viral, they generate substantial online conversations and sharing, which boosts the visibility of Netflix’s content in search results.

Plus, the use of targeted hashtags and trending topics related to the clip can enhance visibility on the platforms themselves, connecting with audiences who may not be direct followers of Netflix but have shown interest in similar content.

Building Community and Viewer Loyalty

Clips help encourage a sense of community among viewers because when they comment, share and interact with these video clips, they feel part of a larger fan base.

Netflix’s strategy also extends to the creation of superfan pages and show-specific accounts on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, such as:

  • Stranger Things
  • Bridgerton
  • Squid Game
  • The Witcher
  • Cobra Kai

Squid Games fan page on Facebook -- Netflix's smart Social Media Clips strategy

These pages focus on deeper engagement with dedicated fan bases that can “nerd out” on their favorite shows and movies, and who doesn’t love doing that? And Netflix can further engage with this community by responding to comments, creating polls and encouraging viewer participation in promotional events, deepening the viewer’s connection to the brand.

By nurturing these communities, Netflix creates a viral loop where fans are more likely to share content within their networks and, thus, the streaming platform increases the reach and impact of their marketing efforts.

Analytics and Feedback for Future Productions

Netflix can use the analytics from the performance of different social media clips to gather insights into audience preferences and trends. This feedback is invaluable for shaping future marketing campaigns and content creation. If certain types of clips generate more engagement or viewership, Netflix might consider exploring similar themes or storytelling techniques in their upcoming projects.

Cost-Effective Marketing

Finally, the use of clips is just, plain and simple, a cost-effective marketing strategy. Instead of creating entirely new content for advertisements, Netflix just uses existing content to engage potential subscribers. This approach not only reduces production costs but also maximizes the return on investment from already produced shows and movies by extending their utility and exposure beyond traditional viewing on the platform.

The Role of Social Media Clips in Driving Traffic

The primary goal of posting clips on social media is, of course, to drive traffic back to Netflix’s main platform. Each clip serves as a gateway, offering potential subscribers a glimpse of the high-quality video content available behind the paywall. The strategic use of call-to-action elements, such as direct links to watch the full movie or series, simplifies the transition from casual viewer to subscriber.

In the description section of each clip, Netflix explains who they are, why you should sign up – “Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen…, all without commercials or commitments.” – and provides a link to their website:

Netflix's Social Media Clips strategy includes links back to their platform for every video posted on social media

Also, by analyzing the performance of these clips — including view counts, engagement rates, and follow-through rates on CTAs — Netflix can fine-tune its marketing campaigns in real time, allocating resources more efficiently and maximizing return on investment.

Here’s how these clips encourage users to move from YouTube to Netflix’s site, instead of just staying on YouTube to watch free clips:

  • Teaser Effect and Content Sampling. Netflix uses social media clips as teasers – kind of like movie trailers. These short segments give audiences a taste of the full product without satisfying their curiosity entirely. By design, these clips include compelling scenes that leave viewers wanting more, which can only be fulfilled by watching the full episode or film on Netflix.
  • Incremental Content Revelation. The clips posted on platforms like YouTube are often carefully selected to reveal just enough to intrigue viewers but not enough to provide full closure. This incremental content revelation creates a narrative gap or an “information gap” that viewers feel compelled to close by visiting Netflix to watch the entire content. This is particularly effective with serialized content, where clips from a series can lead to binge-watching entire seasons.
  • Exclusivity and Time-Limited Content. Sometimes Netflix might release exclusive or time-limited content on social media. Viewers are aware that to access these shows or movies in their entirety, and often in a higher quality or without interruptions, they would need to switch to Netflix. This limited availability on social media platforms enhances the value of having access to the full content library on Netflix.
  • Leveraging FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Netflix clips often play on the social phenomenon of FOMO. When viewers see clips of trending shows or movies, and these clips are widely discussed online, potential viewers don’t want to feel left out of the cultural conversation. This social pressure can drive people to subscribe to Netflix to be part of the ongoing social discourse.
  • Quality and Uninterrupted Viewing Experience. YouTube provides a platform for watching video clips (and some full movies or shows, but often with ads or only a limited number of episodes). But Netflix offers a superior viewing experience for full-length content with better video quality, no ads (for most subscription plans), and a more user-friendly interface for binge-watching, which they remind you of in the description of each video clip. For viewers seeking a more immersive and uninterrupted experience, migrating from YouTube to Netflix is a logical step.

Netflix basically uses social media clips as a funnel to convert viewers into subscribers, using both the content and the platform’s features to drive traffic from free viewing environments like YouTube to their paid service.

Challenges and Considerations

The benefits of using social media clips are fairly obvious, but there are also a few challenges that companies must be aware of.

The primary concern is the balance between promotional content and user experience. Overloading social media feeds with promotional clips can lead to viewer fatigue and potentially dilute the perceived value of the content:

Graph showing where Ad Fatigue sets in

Another concern are copyright and intellectual property issues, especially as clips are shared and potentially modified by users across platforms. Ensuring that content distribution complies with legal standards while still engaging viewers is a delicate balance that requires ongoing attention and adaptation.

Also, clips might reveal too much information and lead to spoilers, ruin viewers’ experience and deter them from watching the full content. And if the clips do not resonate well with people or if they misrepresent the tone or quality of the show or movie, they may generate negative feedback and discourage viewership.

Last Word on Social Media Clips as a Strategy

Netflix’s strategy of using social media clips as a tool for engagement and traffic generation illustrates how to do marketing in the streaming age. By effectively using social media clips, Netflix not only enhances their visibility and subscriber base but also sets a benchmark for content marketing that other companies can aspire to.

As the online ecosystem becomes more intertwined, the strategic use of social media clips will play an increasingly important role in the marketing strategies of content-driven businesses, particularly if it continues driving engagement and growth in a competitive market.

If you’re ready to level up your content’s reach, Single Grain’s content marketing experts can help!👇

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