This was going to be a post about how much I hate the little hashtags that appear on my television screen during some of my favorite shows. “More stuff on my screen to distract me from enjoying my show?” I stewed. Aaaaargh! I mean who’s going to log into Twitter and tweet while watching a show? Why would a network want to take attention away from their programming? Once I calmed the irritated viewer in me, I thought about it from the other side.
In this world of more consumer engagement, advertisers and networks are looking for ways to connect with viewers. If a social campaign is done properly, it not only will ignite further conversation, but it will drive new viewers to find out what all the buzz is about. One example of this was Comedy Central’s Celebrity Roast honoring Donald Trump. As roasts go, it was a bit of a disaster, but it was trending heavily on Twitter afterwards, and that buzz prompted people who missed the show to go back and see what all the fuss was about.
Advertisers like Audi are starting to make hashtags a regular part of their advertising, like their ad for the Audi R8. Not surprising, considering Audi claims to have been the first advertiser to use hashtags in their advertising starting, with their 2011 Super Bowl spot.
Advertisers aren’t the only ones branching out. Networks are getting in on the action. Last spring, NBC started NBC Live, where viewers can interact and post comments while watching their shows. They can see posts from cast members, video extras and games.
This new era is exciting, and it is definitely here to stay. And, I think we will be seeing more of this type of social integration from companies. Some will do it well, some not so much. The companies that remember that “continuing the conversation” means you have something to say and something for people to talk about, will do well. Companies that are “social” just to be social may still find themselves being talked about, just maybe not in the way they had hoped.