How to Maximize Primetime TV and Live-Tweeting

If you are a television fan, get ready. The fall Primetime shows are back and they are coming in full digital force – in the form of tweets. That’s right, tweets. According to the Hollywood Reporter, 58 broadcast series will be back on television and debuting their new episodes. Multiply those 58 shows with the actors (or verified, fictional character handles), writers, and the various social media teams assigned to both the show and the network, and you have quite a bit of tweeting going on. Which brings me to my confession:

I am a live-tweeting junkie. Yes, yes I am.

My real-time love of tweeting started with awards shows but quickly grew when I began watching ‘Scandal.’I was blown away by how well the cast of ‘Scandal’ interacted with their fans during both the East Coast and West coast airing of each episode. Many times the cast would gather and watch the show while tweeting back with fans. Hashtags started to flow: #ScandalABC #Gladiator #PapaPope (Joe Morton is amazing), and a whole world of tweets began to kickoff Thursday nights. I loved it. I continue to love it. More networks and shows are quickly following suit.

What does this mean for digital communications and social media? Simple. The television viewer expects the same amount of activity and interaction, if not more, than last season. This increased level of communication means a treasure trove of trends and opportunities to understand what makes the viewer tick.

Whether you are on the digital team for a network or you are partnering with an agency, here are some tips to take the best advantage of the live-tweeting normal:

  1. Start reviewing hashtags and chatter the week before your show is slated to air. Practice this activity every week, not just premier week.
  2. Keep track of any ‘constant tweeters’ who have a large follower base and show enthusiasm for your show. These are your true fans.
  3. Begin following conversations and responding, as much as you possibly can, the day of your show airing.
  4. Prep your third party tool (Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc.) with a series of columns that display every hashtag, theme, and top Twitter users.
  5. Set up multiple devices, if possible. When I was at Motorola, I followed the live tweets about our Superbowl spot and used three devices at once.
  6. Begin watching the show and reading the live tweets.
  7. Retweet and/or ‘favorite’ fun tweets and zingers. Every week, I would use the ‘Scandal’ hashtags and get a surprising group of new followers. It felt like my new mini-community.
  8. Consider setting up a fun Easter Egg in future live-tweeting sessions. These Easter Eggs can be anything related to the show. Maybe it’s a chance to meet a cast member or the opportunity to be retweeted by another cast member.
  9. Thank everyone for participating!
  10. Create detailed notes on top participants, trends, and ideas to use for content in the week leading up to the next airing.

Will all this activity lead into more sales and revenue? I would argue yes. The more people watching television and live-tweeting shows will create impressions that ripple to larger networks of people, and with more eyeballs comes more advertisers to run commercials, thus hiking up ad rates.

If you aren’t a fan of watching a television show and live-tweeting the experience, I get it, it can be information overload. I do recommend taking one show you enjoy (‘Empire’ or ‘Scandal’ are solid examples) and seeing the real-time tweets in action.  It adds such a fun, communal element to watching the ‘boob tube.’

As far as me? I’ll see you on the other end of my tablet, live tweeting the new lineup!

Blagica Bottigliero
VP of Digital Media

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