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Social Media Branding is the New Black

Published: July 17, 2014       Updated: June 15, 2024

5 min read


Unlike the “Orange is the New Black” inmates at Litchfield, you have the power to be in total control when it comes to your online presence. The popular Netflix series sheds light on many universal truths, even some that will help you establish your brand on social media, and do it your own way.

Consistency Is Key

The ladies of Litchfield are expected to be on their best behavior at all times in order to avoid spending time in the SHU (Special Housing Unit). The social media world has a certain expectation for your brand as well. Each of your social profiles should represent what you’re about, without any confusion.

First and foremost, it’s important to stick to a certain posting schedule. Nothing will make your followers lose interest faster than giving them the silent treatment for months on end. You also need to make sure that you’re posting the appropriate content for your audience. Applying the “80/20 Rule” to your social media strategy is a helpful guideline to follow. By talking about yourself just 20 percent of the time and dedicating 80 percent to relevant outside content, your audience will remain interested and engaged. Finally, make sure that you’re posting in the same voice across all networks. Consistent brand reinforcement is necessary in order for your followers to fully understand what your brand is all about.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Without the detailed character development in OITNB, it would be easy to group all of the prisoners together. Throughout the series, we are constantly reminded that each woman has a different story and a different path that led them to Litchfield.

Just as you can’t assume each person is the same, you also can’t assume that the same best practices work on every social media platform. What you post on Facebook and Google Plus might not translate well on Twitter, and we all know that using hashtags on LinkedIn just isn’t quite the same. So be smart about what you post and where. By utilizing the tips you know about each social platform, you can optimize your brand’s online presence.

Mark Your Territory 

Remember when Red got kicked out of the kitchen and Gloria was reassigned as the new head chef? This serves as a good reminder that you should never let your guard down, because there’s always someone willing to swoop in and take over.

If you care about keeping your brand image, you need to care about your social media profiles. Your profile names and URLs should closely match your business name because this is how your customers will identify you. Once you start posting, figure out which social platforms work for your audience and ditch the ones that don’t. There’s no need to spread yourself too thin when you know what you’re good at.

It’s the Little Things in Life…

And the women of OITNB, more than anyone, can attest to this. Coming from such a comfortable life with her fiancé, Piper Champan’s stint in prison is the most obvious example. After settling into her new living situation, she started to appreciate things like a clean toothbrush and one simple phone call.

Although social media can be about the big picture, it’s important to remember that it’s the little things that will help you reach your overall goal. Attention to detail is vital when it comes to social media. Pictures and videos have been proven to boost engagement, so start working them into your brand’s posts. Include the appropriate hashtags on each platform, and take advantage of your mentions on Twitter. By interacting with the authors of the content you share and replying to your followers, your brand will be one step closer to coming into its own.

Timeliness Matters

In the Litchfield world, information is power. Telling the wrong person the wrong thing at the wrong time has had dire consequences for Piper and the other inmates. The same thing goes for social media; it’s all about what’s happening right now. Your brand’s audience relies on you for timely and relevant information. If you bog them down with old news, they might start searching for it somewhere else. That sounds like a pretty bad consequence to me.

Don’t Hold Yourself Back

Even with the limited resources at Litchfield, Piper spearheads the idea of publishing a prison newsletter and Officer Healy’s “Safe Place” program serves as a way for everyone’s voices to be heard. As you’re sharing your brand’s story, be ambitious and be original using the resources at your disposal. It’s ok to keep an eye on your competitors, but make sure that doesn’t hold back your creativity. A successful campaign may be translated differently to fit your brand’s specific needs. So follow those best practices, but then remember that there’s always room to put your own spin on things.

Be Social

The tumultuous relationships in OITNB are what keep the show interesting and the fans invested. Simply having a social media presence is only the start; it’s the relationships you create that keep your brand top-of-mind. Have conversations with people instead of talking at them. Embrace their feedback and trust the power of word of mouth. Those who believe in your brand will spread the right message for you, as long as you are investing just as much time into your customer relationships.

So keep at it, dandelions! Social media branding takes time, but the end result will make it worth your while.

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