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

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Breaking Bad

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!]

“Breaking Bad’s” Good Social Media Lessons

[Cue twangy opening music]

Breaking Bad

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, [SPOILER ALERT!] 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.

i am the danger

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!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • 5 Things “Breaking Bad” Can Teach You About Social Media
    October 6, 2013 10:16 AM

    […] post 5 Things “Breaking Bad” Can Teach You About Social Media appeared first on B Squared Media // B² […]

  • Reaching Out: Blog Commenting, ON PURPOSE
    October 10, 2013 4:18 PM

    […] Name: Brooke Ballard Blog URL: @B2MediaLLC Social media advisor; psychographics over demographics.  Emphasizes engagement and connectivity. “Think Conversation, not Campaign”. Met on Twitter, has RT’d a number of articles. Exchange jokes and mutual appreciation. Sharp writer. Six Ways to Bribe Fans, Followers to “Like” You Numbers, Metrics, and ROI, OH MY! Part ONE Numbers, Metrics, and ROI, OH MY! Part TWO Numbers, Metrics, and ROI, OH MY! Part THREE Numbers, Metrics, and ROI, OH MY! Part FOUR *left what I think will be a particularly helpful tip for Brooke’s readers on this one. What Breaking Bad Can Teach You ABout Social Media […]

  • Dude… oh, and you too, Brooke…

    Seriously take a look at my pic and then think Walter White. Separated at birth or what? 😉

    ( btw Brooke, BRILLIANT observations about color-branding. Of COURSE you’re right. I actually noticed it first with purple girl)

    The thing that I learned from Breaking Bad is that we sympathize even with a man that’s doing wrong, when he is doing it for the right reasons. Also, that we strongly identify with and respect a person with uncompromising work ethic… strangely enough, even when he is a criminal.

    Think of the lawyer fella with his code of “ethics”… Awww, anyone reading this that’s a fan of the show will know what I mean. If you don’t watch BB then it’s like this: fierce loyalty to one’s people goes a long way even if you’re a total weasel in every other way.

    I’m going as Heisenberg for Halloween Brooke! Send ya pics if ya like. I thought this was a great post, and it’s timely. No more spoilers though; I’m a Johnny come lately that’s tryina catch up, just finished season 4.

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt Frankenberg recently posted…Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget: The “World Domination from Zero” StrategyMy Profile

    • Hey … there IS a resemblance there! You should totally be Walt for Halloween – AND send pics!

      You’re totally right: We do sympathize and empathize with those who work hard. We tar and feather those who are lazy. I think summed up in one sentence: You really can’t fake it ’till you make it!

      Thanks for stopping by and giving me a laugh and a smile (as always), Kurt!


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