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Social TV: Media + Conversation

Social TV: Media + ConversationRealizing they’re arriving a little late to this party, entertainment marketers are scrambling to find new ways to join the social media event. From awards shows to the upcoming Superbowl, show check-ins via GetGlue and TV tagging with Shazam, their aim is to increase fan loyalty and audience viewership in order to [fingers crossed] see a positive ROI – but are they just spinning their wheels?

The one-Way Conversation:
TV Check-ins are popular and slowly sticking to the industry’s marketing plans. While offering value (of sorts), check-ins come up empty in other important areas. TV Tagging is fun and also offers value through exclusive video, playlists and the like. Games are interactive and offer competition among fans. Twitter and Facebook community destinations are commonplace. Google+ and Pinterest are gaining steam, and hashtags grace the bottom of nearly every television screen these days.

Steps in the right direction? Yes. These are tools to target your audience. These are great ways for your audience to interact with each other. They are not ways to engage in conversation. This is what your audience craves – a conversation… with you.

Integration and the Two-way Conversation:
Entertainment marketers have proven to be fairly good students in the rapidly changing world of social and digital media. There’s something they’re just not getting. It’s fair to note that it isn’t just the entertainment industry missing this point. Even early social media adopters miss the “conversation” opportunity. Here’s what they’ll need to get started:

1) Take a Risk… Be Creative

It’s hard to believe that an industry in the business of make-believe lacks imagination. Whether it’s a lack of education about social media or fear of investing the time, money and resources, it’s inexcusable. This is television’s moment. It’s do or die – literally.

2) Integrate – Engage – Interact

Thank you, television, for allowing us – your loyal audience – to tweet about you during your show. Why isn’t anyone tweeting back? Hello? Is anyone out there?

Networks must find ways to integrate social channels into their broadcasts, engage in real time, and encourage audience interaction. We are here. We are waiting.

3) Knowledge is Power

Let’s be honest, this is a massive undertaking. Television networks are not small. Programming is 24/7. This is not your father’s entertainment marketing. Hire knowledgeable leadership. Build passionate teams.

Listen. Learn. Create. Connect. Respond. Repeat.

Social media is capable of saving TV. It’s doing a pretty darn good job on its own, but it could use a little help. Television’s future is bright considering it could have easily been lost to social media or replaced by the internet. The industry just doesn’t completely understand how to capitalize on social media…. yet.

And the award goes to… Social Media

Hollywood awards season. This is one of two (or maybe three) guilty pleasures I allow myself in life without excuse. The film, the fanfare, the fashion… I can’t get enough. From the nomination announcements to the events themselves, I love it. And the fact that its kickoff overlaps the height of my other guilty pleasure (NFL football playoffs), Well… it just doesn’t get any better.

Social Awards And the Winner Is... Social Media April Lynne Scott BlogOver the past few years the industry has been diving deeper and deeper into social media to combine it with their live spectacles. This year the partnership between social media and the awards season has not disappointed. In fact, it may have changed the way we see the future of televised programming.

Entertainment blogs sent writers and tweeters to the events. Paparazzi and event-goers posted photos to websites and social networks like Pinterest. Television networks incorporated tweet-meters and “What’s hot” indicators. Live blogging has been everywhere from the nomination announcements to the red carpet arrivals and the events themselves. The fans have enthusiastically participated live with real-time comebacks to awards hosts’ witty remarks and live commentary about fashion hits and misses and celebrity faux pas. An adrenaline-filled, multi-channel, live-fetish, interactive media overload – and I can’t get enough.

Social media makes the awards ceremonies more fun to watch; but I would be watching anyway. This year more than ever, social media is encouraging non-awardaholics to tune in and even take part. Must-tweet = Must-see. Television is turning into a living, breathing channel not just for viewing but for engaging and interacting thanks, in part, to live programming like awards ceremonies and sporting events. Just wait and see what happens at the Superbowl during the multi-million dollar commercial breaks.

Just last night I noticed major networks adding on-screen, hashtagged keywords during programming. This is a good sign toward integration. But, only time will tell if this seemingly perfect relationship between social media and television will last.  As rating successes continue for live events like the Golden Globes and the Superbowl, the industry will need to consider social media an important part of their programming decisions by creating and scheduling content that fans will not only watch, but tweet about and interact with.

This could signal a huge change in the way we’ve thought about the future of television. The networks and key players in the industry hold the future of this opportunity in their hands. Whatever the case, with the Superbowl and the Oscars right around the corner I’m in my happy place.

***The phrase “Must-tweet TV” coined by founder and CEO of Mashable, Pete Cashmore in his article The new goal: Must-tweet TV
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