Case Study #3 – The Young Bucks

OVERVIEW

The Young Bucks are the professional wrestling tag team of real life brothers Matt and Nick Jackson, and they have tremendous social media presence. The success they’ve had in professional wrestling is owed as much to their social media prowess as it is to their superkicks.

Their Facebook page is at Facebook.com/TheYoungBucks, and they have 54,741 likes. On Instagram, Matt is @mattjacksonyb. He has 1,625 posts, 125K followers, and follows 216 users. Nick is @nickjacksonyb, and he has 1,426 posts, 109K followers, and follows 284 users.

Matt and Nick have separate Twitter accounts. Matt is @MattJackson13, and Nick is @NickJacksonYB, and both their display names are “The Young Bucks.” Matt has 178,000 Twitter followers, follows 754 users, and has 19.4K tweets. Nick has 167,000 followers, follows 593 users, and has 16.5 tweets. Matt joined Twitter first in April 2009, and Nick followed soon after in July 2009.

ANALYSIS

FACEBOOK

The Young Bucks profile picture on Facebook is a photo of Nick and Matt flexing in their matching entrance gear: custom printed tights and jackets covered in a pattern of their own faces and with tassels on the arms and boots. It’s intentionally garish. The cover photo is their finishing move – the “Meltzer Driver.” The finishing move was named tongue-in-cheek after influential wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer.

The About Page includes their email, their Instagram and Twitter accounts, and a link to their website YoungBucksMerch.com. They list their affiliated promotions and factions, including that they are the Elite members of popular faction The Bullet Club. Their bio is simply “we’re a real life brother tag team that travels the world to wrestle.”

Most of the content are photos, and they post videos from their YouTube series “Being the Elite.” Being the Elite is a hybrid show that is part road diary/part comedy series where they tell ongoing stories with the other Bullet Club members. It’s an example of how pro wrestling blends fantasy and reality, and it also is a way for them to tell a story across all the different wrestling promotions they work with. Without YouTube, all of the catchphrases and memes the Young Bucks have popularized may have never taken off.

Many of these episodes are centered around their social media celebrity, such as a recent episode where they promised to release Kenny Omega’s private Twitter DMs if they hit 100,000 YouTube subscriptions while Kenny is uncomfortable with the exposure (parodying some recent WWE controversies).

Popular posts are photos with fellow Bullet Club/Elite member Kenny Omega (an incredibly popular wrestler with New Japan) or posts about their recent deal to sell Bullet Club shirts at Hot Topic stores. A photo of the Young Bucks reclaiming the ROH Tag Team titles received 3.3K likes and is one of their most popular posts.

Tag Titles

Their posts gets dozens of comments with fans leaving praise, posting fan art, and sharing selfies they got with the Young Bucks at local shows. Matt and Nick will answer questions about merch availability or when they will return to a town. The comments are overwhelmingly positive. Surprising, because wrestling fans can be real jerks sometimes.

TWITTER

MattYB Twitter

Matt and Nick’s Twitter profile and cover photos are similar – the profile is a shot of them individually, and the cover photos are of them together, although Nick’s cover photo includes Bullet Club Elite leader Kenny Omega. Both their bios mention they are wrestlers and Bullet Club Elite members. They include links to Facebook and their website.

The Young Bucks shine on Twitter. They frequently engage in Twitter chats with other wrestlers that build and continue storylines. This is vital for independent wrestlers who are not on cable TV every week.

One of Matt’s most popular tweets says “I’m a YouTube character 1st, Wrestler 2nd. Get it right. Wait. T-shirt Salesmen 2nd, Wrestler 3rd. Wait.” This may be a popular tweet because it recognizes how important social media is to their success. They aren’t necessarily the best wrestlers (subjective art form), but they draw a crowd, get clicks, and make money.

Another of their most recently popular tweets is a GIF of an extreme Meltzer Driver they performed in honor of Dave Meltzer’s father who had passed. GIFs perform well for them because they show off bite sized clips of their matches in an easily digestible and shareable format.

Most tweets are original. They retweet each other and the other Bullet Club members, but they favor quote retweeting over replies to display comments to their audience. They tweet 3-5 times a day, usually to comment on something in the wrestling industry, promote merch, or discuss the latest “Being the Elite” episode. Their dominant tone is humor.

They answer practically any question posed to them (especially if it is “where can I buy your shirts?”), and join many conversations that tag them.

Comments on Twitter are a little more negative than Facebook. More traditional pro wrestling fans think the Young Bucks are “killing the business” by not taking the art of wrestling seriously enough and doing too much comedy and acrobatics

Recently, they have extra heat from fans of the WWE tag team The Revival after the Young Bucks and former-WWE wrestler Cody Rhodes started an “F the Revival” meme (#FTR). The Revival’s slogan is “No Flips, Just Fists,” which is surely a reference to the type of wrestling traditional fans would prefer. This makes them a perfect feud for an indie team like the Bucks. Twitter gives the opportunity for these two tag teams to interact with each other in a way that WWE would never allow otherwise.

INSTAGRAM

MattInsta

Matt and Nick’s Instagram profile pics are shots of them in ring. Matt’s profile links to their website, while Nick’s links to his Twitter account. Both bios state that they are husbands, fathers, and pro wrestlers.

They post the usual photos from their matches, merchandise photos, and “Being the Elite” screencaps. However, they also post a lot of pictures of their wives and children, which are barely mentioned on Twitter or Facebook. I suspect they see Twitter as a way to be in character and Instagram as a way to be themselves.

Many of the photos with their kids are taken while they are shopping. It’s interesting that these photos are in mundane moments, and I wonder if they document these times because they learned to appreciate the small moments since they are on the road so often. The image they present on Instagram is that they caring fathers who love spending time with their family, which fits their image as a team of brothers.

One adorable Instagram post is Nick’s daughter performing a superkick, It’s too sweet!

All their posts have very high like and comment activity from their audience. Their Instagram posts also tend to have between 5,000 to 10,000 likes. Twitter likes were not often more than 1,000, so it’s interesting to see how Instagram’s engagement operates in such a markedly different way, especially since there are fewer followers on Instagram.

CONCLUSION

While Instagram leads in raw “likes per post,” The Young Bucks connect with the fans best through Twitter. They chat with their fans, it’s the best place to see when they will be performing next or catch highlights. It’s also a way to follow their “fiction” when you can watch their real time interactions with other wrestlers.

The Young Bucks are an example of how social media can be used to circumvent the barriers of an old industry to make a name and a career. Many wrestlers have followed their lead, and a rich social media reputation can lead to bigger opportunities when fans demand their local promotion give them the chance to see the latest trending wrestler with their own eyes.

 

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