Today’s TV now needs to be “social TV,” where the online experience allows viewers to share their experiences with other viewers and the world. Fans no longer have to wait to discuss the latest episode at the water cooler the next day; they are doing it in real-time and all the time.
Discovery Communications’ main social media strategy is engagement says Gayle Weiswasser, vice president, social media communications, during an American Marketing Association’s Washington, DC (AMADC) chapter program in January. Additionally, Discovery looks to build community, drive fans to tune-in, increase website page-views, and gather insights.
Most social media strategies contain the big three platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but not all platforms are right for every organization. For Discovery, YouTube and GetGlue are also essential platforms. It even started a Pinterest page for TLC because TLC shows are very visual and tend to attract a lot of female fans. As quoted from this Desert News article, “If you’re an American and you know about Pinterest, chances are you’re either female or someone who heard about Pinterest from a female – because no fewer than 83 percent of Americans using Pinterest are female.”
(For tips on adding Pinterest to your integrative communications efforts, check out this BurrellesLuce newsletter: Understanding Pinterest and Your Audience and my BurrellesLuce colleague Tressa Robbins recent post about Pinterest and how companies and the media are using the site.)
Tips for Creating Social Experiences to Enhance TV Fan Bases
- Give fans exclusive content. This is a great way to drive engagement, Weiswasser says. Discovery offers additional scenes and other insights as rewards for comments and sharing. The content is usually only available for a limited time and is not available during the broadcast time for the show it promotes.
- Use multiple platforms to interact with your audiences. Weiswasser suggested making “co-viewing” apps available on multiple platforms to promote a linear TV experience for user who following the conversation on a number of different social networks.
- Think before you post. Weiswasser tells her team to ask, “If I were a viewer/fan, would I really like this post?” If the post is mediocre, she says it’s best not to post.
- Be aware of trends and hot topics. A great way to gain some momentum for your organization is to embrace the culture at the moment. Animal Planet, for its show “Hillbilly Handfishin’” tweeted, “@OldSpice & @FabioOldSpices – Are Either of You Brave Enough to Try Noodlin’? We Triple Dog Dare You!” Both of Old Spice’s spokespeople, Isaiah Masufa and Fabio took the dare for a couple of fun April Fool’s Day jokes on YouTube.
- Increase outreach success by having (celebrity) spokespeople interact with your communities. When Clinton Kelly of “What Not to Wear” took over the show’s Facebook page, they had the most activity in eight years.
Some other great takeaways from Weiswasser:
- Give the social media team authority to make real decisions.
- Listen and talk to fans.
- Build on the engagement you’ve made.
- Accept that not all audiences are alike.
What lessons have you learned from your social media fans? How do you encourage more engagement? Which new social networks are you adding to the mix?