In a new user research study by TVGuide.com, 17 percent of respondents said that they began watching a television show because of social media impression, and 31 percent continued watching a television show for the same reason. Furthermore, 27 percent of those polled said they are currently watching more live television in order to avoid plot and reality show spoilers that may be revealed on social media networks, up from 20 percent who said the same 2 years ago.
What to make of all this data? Social media can boost viewership, help sustain show loyalty and increase live viewing. Simply put, a television show should encourage viewer participation and discussion in social media if it wants an edge in the ratings game. Here are some of the biggest.
Big Event Shows
Super Bowl XLVI, The Grammy’s and The Oscars made Sunday’s the hottest day of the week in February for social media television discussion according to Trendrr, a social media analytics platform specializing in social television. Everyone’s got an opinion, and in this day and age, most everyone also has a speakerphone (I think my speakerphone is broken) in the form of social media. Through Twitter, armchair critics can appraise each and every football play, discuss the merits of each musical performance and make sassy comments about red carpet gowns in real time to a potentially worldwide audience. Remember, it’s through social media that Angie’s leg, J-Lo’s nipple and Bonnie Bear became stars.
Reality Competition Shows
The Voice is a social TV mega-hit because of its liberal inclusion of live tweets from its stars and viewers, as well as its promotion of hashtags to encourage viewer tweets. The show is so big on social media promotion that it has a dedicated team working on just that, and that’s including an on-air social media correspondent that solicits viewers to tweet their opinions on contestants and their performances.
Other reality competition shows like American Idol, X-Factor and Project Runway also have powerful social media components not just because of their social media strategies, but also because of their very nature. As reality competition television shows, they have performances or challenges with winners and losers every week, and their viewers are eager to chime in with their takes. The reality television factor of these shows also adds in an extra hook as they feature the drama of personalities, life stories and contestant interactions.
Reality Television Shows
Popular reality shows like Jersey Shore (the most social TV show of 2011), Bad Girls Club and Dance Moms have all been strong social TV shows. Reality programming simply provides a lot of talking points, as viewers gather around the social media cooler to discuss the latest fights that reality television is so adept at providing. In the same vein, WWE shows are social hits because of their heroes and villains, and outrageous and provocative storylines. Viewers of these shows get soap opera-like ups and downs that call for fanatical discussion.
Popular animated scripted social shows like Spongebob Squarepants, The Simpsons and Family Guy tend to have more social media activity on Facebook than on Twitter. This can be attributed mostly to the fact that younger users are more likely to be on Facebook than on Twitter. Sorry, animation-loving adults, younger people are still more likely to be watching the most popular animated shows.
The Big Bang Theory, The Vampire Diaries and How I Met Your Mother are three of the most social scripted non-animated TV shows. According to GetGlue, The Big Bang Theory is the most checked-in show ever with over 2 million check-ins. Geeks love The Big Bang Theory for a variety of reasons, and they’re a lock to use social media technology to show that love. Meanwhile, The Vampire Diaries team incite tweens to tweet, blog and Facebook about the show through original social media games, apps and an active Twitter page. Plus, tween girls, who clearly rule the Internet with an iron fist (just try talking smack about Justin Bieber or Twilight on the Internet), just love vampires and The CW network. Lastly, How I Met Your Mother has benefited from WGN America running strong social campaigns for the show through Twitter and Facebook, as well as having a social media-savvy star in the form of Neil Patrick Harris.
What other TV shows make you want to share on social media?