Have you ever watched a show live and tweeted about it at the same time? Or perhaps you saw a super bowl commercial and interacted online with a brand because of its hashtag. The invention of social media has changed the way consumers watch TV. You are no longer alone watching the television set anymore, it is now you, the TV set, and millions of other people using social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Social television, also known as the “second screen,” is the social interaction between TV programs, content, and those using the social sites while watching their favorite programs. Now there are more people watching TV than ever because the conversations being held online are causing awareness of other TV programming.
The social television phenomenon essentially provides marketers and brands with a large live focus group to provide immediate feedback. By paying attention to the conversation happening online, television producers are able to tailor content to provide programming that reflects the attitudes and interests of their viewers. Many television programs are starting the conversation by creating hashtags and displaying them while the show is airing in order to get people talking and make it easier to connect with other fans.
Increasingly, the groups working to promote television programming are engaging social audiences, for a number of reasons including:
1. To Gain Brand Awareness
One of the goals for any marketer is to increase awareness of their brand. Social TV is a medium that marketers use to help achieve that goal because it is able to reach so many people at once. When marketers realized that people are discussing TV shows or even commercials over social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, marketers began to capitalize on the opportunity. It is hard to find a TV show that does not have a hashtag that appears periodically on the television screen. It is almost a necessity at this point for marketers, especially those working with live programming such as award ceremonies, American Idol, The Voice, etc.
Making a hashtag with a brand’s name and something related to what is happening on the program is the easiest way marketers increase their brand awareness. The HBO series Game of Thrones has a #GoT army of 1.79 million followers (Mashable). One example of how the series (and many other television series) connect what is happening in the program with their brand is by using a hashtag such as #GoTFinale. Many of their followers are going to want to post something about what happens in the finale and they will want others to see it and possibly respond. Using the #GoTFinale increases awareness for Game of Thrones tremendously and peaks the interest of those who do not watch the show.
2. For Social Listening
Social listening is basically when a marketer reads and analyzes posts and pictures in order to understand the conversation on the social network. Most marketers will not and should not jump into a conversation without listening to their potential customers first. Social TV is one of the best mediums to listen to conversations about an event, show, or product because so many people are posting their opinions on social networks and it is easy to find those opinions via hashtags. For instance, social listening would be important for disaster relief organizations, because they would be able to help pin point people that are in distress at a faster pace.
3.To Start conversations with Targeted audiences
Nowadays, most marketers use different techniques to start conversations with their target audiences. One technique that is commonly used through social TV is the three R’s method which is Reading, Relating, and Relaxing with the potential customer. The reading portion simply means that you’re reading any signs of interest that you see in a potential customer. For example, when there is a baseball game being played on television, potential customers tend to post tweets and hashtags on social media about the game. In order to get the social viewers’ attention, marketers post the same hashtags and tweets or start conversations with customers because they know that the game is of interest at the period of time. The relating portion means how a marketer can relate to the customers interests. An example of relating would be if the potential customer is a St. Louis Cardinals fan then simply start a conversation about how much the customer likes the Cardinals. In other words, just show a common interest. The last portion of the three R’s method is the relaxing portion. Relaxing means that marketers are not pushing their products upon the potential customers but are using the social viewers’ personal interests to get focus on their products. For example, after relating to the potential customers’ interest in the St. Louis Cardinals, the customers find the marketers as very interesting people because they share a common interest. Being that the potential customers like the marketers, that gives the marketers a better opportunity to present their products without forcing it upon the potential customers. This method is used by multiple marketing firms and one great example of a marketing firm that uses this method is Aspen Concepts, Incorporated.
This article was written by University of Missouri – St. Louis Social Media Marketing Undergraduate students Desireé Blue. Taylor Bartley, Madevi Biekram, Naheda Dabain, Nicole Nelson, and Montorrius Tobias.
What Is Social Television?
What are the Advantages of Social TV?
Why TV Is Going Social
Social TV Keeps Viewers Engaged When Minds Might Wander, Study Says
Social TV Is Here to Stay: Do You Tweet While You Watch?