Vicky McClure Line of Duty

Mother Of God, What A Campaign!

Listen up fellas, it’s time to talk Line of Duty.

We’ve all heard of it, whether you’ve watched it yourself, listened in to a friend’s conversation or seen one of the 13 trending topics on Twitter that we achieved during the finale. Last month, everyone was talking about Line of Duty.

SMMS Ltd. Were responsible for running the official Social Media campaign, alongside BBC One’s campaign. Joining the team just ahead of transmission, we had our work cut out to build engagement without any prior work on the show. We were provided handles that already had a solid number of followers, with 25k likes on Facebook and 64k on Twitter but we knew there was room for good growth.

However, Line Of Duty still didn’t have its own Instagram. At over 1 billion monthly active users, with 2/3rds of users fitting that perfect BBC target demographic (under 35s), Instagram was the place to be. With this in mind, we launched the brand new official Line Of Duty Instagram; this was the only handle we launched from scratch and has gained over 40 thousand followers!

Then, the second concern, the ‘dreaded’ Facebook algorithm. With the platform now prioritising content that provides a genuine interest to its users (thankfully) but penalising pages in favour of communities (not so good). How could we use that our advantage? BBC One had the answer! Working closely with us, we set up an official LOD fan group, which has become the fastest growing official BBC group of all time. Levelling out at 58k members, just 7k less than the Line of Duty page itself.

We wanted to launch our campaign in style, something we achieved with our Line of Duty ‘nickname generator’. Devoted fans of the show are well informed regarding a character nicknamed ‘The Caddy.’ A name creatively assigned to him by an organised crime group after his first job as… you guessed it, a caddy.
We gave fans a chance to be given their own nickname, all they had to do was reply to our tweet with their first job. Within a few hours we totalled around 2k comments, as a small team of four, we managed to reply to around 120 of these (we tried to avoid duplication. It’s amazing how many people have delivered papers and washed dishes as teenagers!). The intention around this exercise was to build traction, engagement and awareness of the page a few days before TX – job done!

Part of all our campaigns is a 7-day countdown, tailored specifically to tease and incite conversation. In this instance, we used exclusive images of the cast with cryptic captions. Ending the countdown with the tagline of the series, ‘Crime needs an inside man.’

All of our full campaign management services come with daily and TX community management. On a daily basis we engage with our audiences, actively engage with the most popular hashtag (which in most cases is the name of the show e.g. #LineOfDuty) and share relevant content. We respond to questions and post relevant GIF replies to help promote the show on the evening of transmission.

The aim when engaging during the hour of TX is to get on Twitter’s list of trending topics, which in turn will reach a potential new audience. This we achieved every week with Line of Duty, during the finale we got the show trending with 13 different topics and started trending nearly an hour before the episode. One of the ways we encouraged this was by creating a verified GIPHY page, which provided regular, updated GIFs for our audience to use. Spreading the word visually about Line of Duty and boosting our reach.


Most of our TX content was shared on Twitter, which is a conversational platform with a far less severe algorithm. Ideal for quick, breaking news pieces. In our case, reactionary content based on what’s happening live in the episode. Facebook and Instagram are where we share more of our long-form content; battling with the new algorithm which penalises content under three minutes. Sharing only the best key moments ensured a regular, high level of engagement on Facebook & Instagram.

With all of this in mind we managed to generate over tens of millions of impressions on Twitter during the 6 weeks of TX, reached several million people on Facebook and nearly one million on Instagram. This is without taking the group into consideration which got 33.6k posts and nearly 2 million engagements over the last 60 days.

As you can imagine, we’re extremely proud with our campaign and look forward to seeing how we can better this going forward.

Make sure you’re following the handles to be the first to know! Facebook. Twitter. Instagram.

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