In 2011, TV programs started including hashtags throughout to capture the viewer’s attention in a new way, encouraging viewers to engage in what they refer to as Second Screen watching – watching on TV and following along on social media, viewers experience a heightened level of engagement, both on TV, and on a secondary screen (smart phone or mobile device).
A hashtag first appeared during Comedy Central’s Roast of Donald Trump, or #trumproast. This drove 25,000 tweets during the initial broadcast of the show, and sent Comedy Central’s web user stats through the roof. Since then, many shows have begun to hashtag themselves, like #glee and #xfactor.
One of the most popular examples of the hashtagged TV shows is NBC’s The Voice. Blake Shelton and Adam Lavine are teaming up for the fifth season of The Voice, and between the two celebrity judges, they have a combined total of 8,836,797. The two have been famous for having TV’s silliest “Bromance”, both on screen, and especially through social media.
— Adam Levine (@adamlevine) September 4, 2013
In the fourth season of The Voice, the two of the other celebrity guests took a break from the show, and were replaced with two household names – Usher and Shakira, who brought in an astounding 31,068,366 more Twitter followers into the immediate impression network. The move catapulted The Voice into the TVs and mobile devices of an estimated 20 million + viewers from Latin America, breaking the show into new heights of success.
This type of engagement is perfect for today’s viewing audience, who enjoy multitasking, and having their favorite shows available on demand. The beauty of this type of social media usage is that it engages in a number of ways:
- If you’re stuck on the subway and you can’t make it home in time to watch the show live, you can follow along on Twitter.
- Users stay tuned after the show to continue to watch the banter unfold, and catch any highlights that didn’t make it into the already two hour episode – brand loyalty.
- Some of the best bits come between episodes, rewarding Twitter’s most diligent followers.
- Engaging in the social conversation offers possible mentions on live television by a celebrity Social Media Correspondent, reading tweets live after the show.
- Watching live tweets during the show, presumably from the celebrity’s couch at home, at the same time that you’re watching The Voice, makes you feel like you’re 6 degrees from Blake Shelton. Who doesn’t love that idea?
This type of user engagement offers benefits to other promoters, too. During one season premiere of The Voice, Victoria’s Secret grabbed some ad space, and offered up some hashtags, as well. In hashtagging #thevoice in their tweet, they grabbed some of the spotlight, knowing that viewers already had their mobile devices in hand – a captive audience.
Lessons for others
Viewers are going to multi-task while watching TV, and like to join in on the on-screen conversation. Why not play on this, and keep them engaged in your TV show wiht social media?
Blake Shelton and his Bromance with Adam Lavine
NBC’s “The Voice” is changing how we watch TV…with Twitter
Wikipedia: Second Screen
Wikipedia: Social Media and Television
6 innovative and inexpensive Twitter campaigns to emulate
Submitted by: Amanda Houseman – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
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