5 TV Shows That Integrate Social Media Effectively
Recently, we took a look at why social media marketers should be paying attention to online TV. This time, let's take a look at which TV shows are already using social media to enhance the viewing experience of their audience - thereby creating more loyalty among their users. While most popular shows on television have a Facebook page for their fans to Like, some TV shows take social to a whole new level.
Fox's humorous procedural crime drama BONES has taken the plunge into the social media sphere in a big way. You can follow @BONESonFOX for chatter about each week's episode and links to a variety of videos that shed more light on the characters and the actors. And unlike other TV shows used Twitter accounts that are basically just content feeds to drive traffic to their official websites, @BONESonFOX makes an effort to be interactive. In addition to value-added tweets where they show users where they can download music from each episode on iTunes, they also try to retweet and reply to fans who tweet them using the hashtag #bones. They also let fans know when they can tweet questions to the show's actors and creative team during live tweet sessions. BONES has even invaded the mobile space with a Bones Companion App that allows fans to get more dirt as they watch each episode and interact with other fans. BONES seems to be doing it right when it comes to creating a community with their fans.
Practically by definition, vocal competitions that require fans to vote for their favorite performers are social. Viewers watch the show on multiple nights each week and vote for the contestants they don't want to see go home. The performer with the fewest votes gets booted out. In this respect, The Voice is very much like American Idol. But what The Voice did from the get-go was get involved on Twitter. Each show promotes fans to use the hashtag #TheVoice, something that is also used by all four mentors on Twitter: @TheRealXtina, @adamlevine, @blakeshelton, and @CeeLoGreen. (Side note: I was thrilled that being a mentor on The Voice got Adam Levine tweeting more. Just sayin'.) And it's not just the mentors tweeting, either. The contestants have been getting in on the game, tweeting with fans and asking for their votes. Premier mom blogger and inventor of the Twitter party Amy Lupold Bair joined in the fray to drum up support (and votes) for her friend Chris Mann. The official website for The Voice also allows fans to watch live performances online and buy the songs on iTunes.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
I might get a boot in my ass (okay, not really) if I didn't mention the World Wrestling Entertainment franchise. The WWE has set multiple Twitter records and has been at the top of the charts with popular trending hashtags worldwide. TechCrunch explains the WWE’s use of Twitter in further detail citing one particular performer, Zack Ryder, as a stunning example. “Zack Ryder and his self-styled 'Jersey Shore' persona created a series of YouTube videos to drive interest. To his credit, not only has he been successful driving nearly 100,000 people to become subscribers on YouTube, but he also has 300,000 followers on Twitter.” When Ryder started his YouTube campaign, he had expected to be fired by the WWE within the next few weeks. However, his videos and Twitter campaign saved his career, and he is now one of the WWE’s most successful performers. But make no mistake, Ryder isn't the only WWE talent to be on YouTube; many exclusive videos have been posted for fans by the WWE. The WWE also displays performer’s Twitter names during entrances and exits to and from the ring, furthering community with their fans.
Big Bang Theory
Big Bang Theory is a show that attracts geeks, gamers, scientists, and everyone in between. (Major fan right here. No surprise there.) What they also do is capitalize on Twitter and the use of apps. Big Bang Theory's official Twitter account posts updates about the show, announces guest stars, and much more. Sadly, however, it does not appear that the popular Sheldon Cooper Twitter profile is official; if it was, I'm certain Dr. Cooper's obsessive-compulsive tendencies would ensure that he started every tweet with a capital letter. The Big Bang Theory app allows fans to chat about the show, earn achievement badges for completing tasks and socializing through the app, participate in polls about the show, and set reminders as to never miss an episode. Recently, an episode of Big Bang Theory featured the renowned professor Stephen Hawking as a guest star on the show and publicized this on Twitter, tagging Dr. Hawking to allow people who follow the physics genius to see his involvement with the show and tune in to the episode in question – although Dr. Hawking has not tweeted in some time. (We're sure he's had better things to do.)
HBO’s vampire sensation True Blood has also capitalized on the Twitter crowd, going so far as to have an official website for its Twitter following. TrueBloodOnTwitter.com allows fans to see recent Tweets, get a Twibbon for the show, or view individual character Twitter feeds. There are live chat options, and those who are not able to watch the show at a particular time can view it via Twitter and follow along on the live feed. Characters from the show tweet in character using the manner of speech their character would normally speak in. Main character Sookie Stackhouse recently tweeted:
I best be gettin' ready for my shift now.Tweet ya'll later.#TrueBlood
— Sookie Stackhouse (@Sookie_BT) April 7, 2012
This creates a connection with both viewers and readers of the book alike, and boosts popularity via hashtags and in-character conversations between characters that can be followed by clicking on the #TrueBlood hashtag. (Myself, I have to wait until True Blood Season 4 comes out on Netflix to follow any of them on Twitter. No spoilers!)
TV + Social = Destiny?
As more and more television shows begin to integrate social media, it may seem inevitable that everything on TV will be in the social sphere soon. It kind of makes me lament the fact that The X-Files is long gone; I could envision a fantastic LOST-style alternate reality game and witty banter between Mulder and Scully on Twitter. Have you become a superfan of your favorite shows by connecting with them online? Are there any shows you feel have dropped the ball in the social game, and you wished they'd expend a little more effort on it? How about TV shows that possibly shouldn't go social? Does such a thing exist in our interconnected world?
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