X-Factor Shows Online Social Media is for Social Online Brands

I don’t watch the x-factor..honest (can you believe the bottom two this weekend….seriously…at this stage in the competition no one is safe!)

I read this great post on Sunday morning from the BrandGym Blog…its a great blog worth following. It talks about how and why social media is relevant for certain brands. It is relevant when your brand is social and online.


Today I had a moment of clarity about social media and why its more relevant for certain brands. The penny dropped with a loud clang when I was looking at the X-Factor* on facebook (yes, we’re big fans in the Taylor household). The UK TV show’s facebook page has a whopping 3.7million Likes The clue is in the name. Online social media is most relevant if your brand is: 1) social, and 2) online.

* Reality TV programme with singers, similar to Idols in other markets


The X-Factor is SOCIAL

The X-Factor is a social brand. Its watched by groups of people. And its the sort of TV programme people have always talked about, well before facebook and Twitter. We want to talk about who’s been kicked off the show and why, what the judges wore (Mrs Taylor’s main focus) and who will win. Social media simply helps facilitate and amplify the shared experience and conversations.


The second key point is that the X-Factor is an entertainment brand. Andresearch shows that the major reason for liking a facebook page is “fun”. What’s more, there is a stream of new news coming out daily about the brand that people want to keep up to date on.

The X-Factor is ONLINE

This is the killer point. Social media is not only a comms channel, its a revenue driver. The X-Factor generates revenue online by people buying iTunes tracks of the week’s songs and the Xmas song, as you can see below on one of the contestant’s facebook pages. Another revenue driver is encouraging mobile phone voting for who stays on the show.


So, what about your brand. Here are 3 questions you can ask. Give yourself a score for each, to see how relevant social media is for your brand:

1. Is your brand social: did people talk about your brand before social media existed? Is it a shared experience?: score out of 25

2. Is your brand entertaining: would people want to buy your brand’s magazine or TV programme?: score out of 25

3. Is your brand online: how direct is the link from online media to brand purchase? Can I click or call to buy direct from social media, or is social media more of a comms channel?: score out of 50

I’d give X-Factor 95%.

What about your brand?

In an up-coming post, I’ll look at the 10 biggest UK grocery brands’ use of social media to explore the issue further.


2 thoughts on “X-Factor Shows Online Social Media is for Social Online Brands

  1. Regarding the note about entertainment and research showing people like fun facebook pages, does entertainment have to be fun? In nonprofits we can struggle with serious stories that are still entertainment but not what you would call fun. They work well on radio but I seriously wonder if they can work as well in social media.

    • Karen…that is a great point. I think “entertainment” implies fun/funny. Not all brands can do that though. I know we are working with someone who cant be in that space, yet they still want to be entertaining. So its an interesting point. Thanks

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