5 Things “Breaking Bad” Can Teach You About Social Media

Thank goodness for “Breaking Bad“. Every Sunday Walter White’s decisions, antics and bad behavior have supremely entertained me. What a series!

There are so many life lessons this show can teach you, but for today let’s look at the social media lessons “Breaking Bad” has so effortlessly laid out for us to learn.

[WARNING: If you’re not up to date on the show there may be a few spoilers in here for you!]



[Cue twangy opening music]

Branding Is key

But it might not always “slap” you in the face. To me, one of the biggest branding and character-building techniques the show used was color. Walt often wears blue, his meth has a signature blue color, and as Skyler starts to wear blue as she comes to want/need the money. (Hey, even part of her name — sky — is indicative of blue).

Jesse embodies red, from his phone, to his car (and the fuzzy, red dice hanging from the rearview mirror). Marie, and everything around her, is purple.

With online and social media, you need to be thinking about ways you can insert your branding without hitting people over the head. Do you always need a logo? Or can you use color to invoke brand feelings?

For instance, we like to use our mascot, Dude, as a branding reminder.


Passion. You Either Have It Or You Don’t!

Sometimes I don’t know if Walt is “good” or “bad” from one scene to the next. All I know for certain is that he’s passionate about his job as a drug lord, his family, and sometimes keeping hold of his reputation (or ego).

We see many people come and go. Walt wins due to his dedication and commitment to BE the best.

In social media, I see plenty of people tout “passion” for social media. These are the same people who send 17 retweets in one hour (after being absent for days) and think that’s doing social.

And therein lies the problem. They’re DOING social, not BEING social. They aren’t inherently passionate about having conversations, networking and making a name for themselves. They will never be the Walter White of Facebook.

Newton’s Law Exists EVERYWHERE

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Walt, Jesse and other characters always suffering for their actions. Even when we think they’ve gotten away with something, it always comes back to haunt them.

The same goes for social. There’s no “faking it ’till you make it”. Everything you do is recorded forever. We all see your spelling errors, your lack of commitment, your plagiarized words, your blatant overuse of memes …

You may not see the affects of lazy marketing today. Your tactics-based efforts may pay off in the the short term. Eventually though, if you’re not embracing a strategy-based plan — with benchmarks, measurements, and some sort of proof of ROI — you’re going to get taken over by a smarter, more savvy, Heisenberg.

Trust me. Just like Walt, they are just waiting to take you down when you make mistakes. You don’t have to be perfect, but having a plan and a strategy never hurt anyone.

Don’t Feed The Trolls!

Because if you do, your brother-in-law, the DEA agent, will get killed mercilessly in the desert. And you’ll feel really sucky about it.

This little nugget came up in our CMGR webinar, too.

Trust is a funny thing in the drug world and on the internet. It’s amazing how people you once respected will end up changing into a Troll for a good online argument. Don’t let them fool you. They feed off of attention, so your best bet is to ignore the nasty, little things.

And when in doubt, remember Newton’s Law. Whatever you say can — and probably will — come back to bite you.


Don’t Feed Your Ego, Either

Watching Walt turn from a quivering school teacher to an egotistical drug lord is certainly an interesting transformation. It may be great for TV, but it’s bad for business.

Your best bet, at least on social sites, is to remain a teacher (and to keep that ego in check). I think we’re starting to see some well-respected social mentors get a little big for their britches.

Not only should you be thankful for every person who follows you, you should THANK them for every mention or mutter of your name. They can very easily go somewhere else to get value (and stop getting sold to every two seconds).

What about you? What social media lessons did you learn from “Breaking Bad”? I love to know – just leave them in the comment section below!

See you in the social sphere!

The post 5 Things “Breaking Bad” Can Teach You About Social Media appeared first on B Squared Media // B² Blog.

Brooke Ballard
Like many of you, Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of B Squared Media, Brooke Ballard, has seen a fundamental shift in business due to social media. How do businesses take advantage of this? Where do they start? Is social media for everyone? In-the-trenches online media experience helps B Squared Media answer these questions for companies seeking to formulate successful social strategies. Using tactics developed in her yearlong honors thesis study, Brooke helps bright and innovative entities develop social strategies around content, community, conversation, collaboration, and conversion. Simply put: Think Conversation, Not Campaign.™ Click here to subscribe to my mailing list
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