Television and Twitter are entwining closer and closer together as networks hop on the second screen bandwagon. The industry is not only active in engaging with viewers, but it has been one of the leaders in incorporating hashtags into both day-to-day tweets and into bigger marketing campaigns.
Hashtags offer brands a multifaceted approach to social media. And they aren’t limited to use in commercials, which is another way that Twitter and TV are supporting each other. Whether it’s getting audiences talking during on-air time or changing up how a network promotes its titles, here are three examples of how television’s leaders are rethinking the world of hashtags.
Focusing on the play aspect of social conversations on Twitter is one area where Psych, which runs on the USA Network, excels. The first effort in this arena was the Hashtag Killer, where hundreds of thousands of players participated in an interactive experience of trying to catch a (fictitious) murderer by solving clues and puzzles in interactive crime scenes. Not only did this game put the social media hashtag to creative new uses, but it attracted more fans to the show’s online profiles. The venture won several awards for the USA Network for its inventive use of social media to promote television.
The latest Psych game features the show’s lead characters solving the mystery of a fake reality show called The S#cial Sector. The contestants on this show are killed off when they lose challenges, and fans need to team up with the Psych people to figure out what’s going on and how to cancel the program.
Psych has also mobilized its online community with a proliferation of hashtags for regular tweeting. For starters, any mention of the show in tweets from the official account is done as the hashtag #Psych. The program also has the #FanFriday and #PsychFF tags to highlight creative works made by viewers. #Psychonair labels any discussions during the program’s Wednesday night time slot, with #ThankPsychItsWednesday tweets usually appearing on Twitter before showtime. By setting an example with a high volume of hashtags, Psych keeps its fans vocal and entertained on social media.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Talk shows have always had a healthy, symbiotic relationship between the television program and the host at the helm. In the current version of Late Night, comedian and actor Jimmy Fallon is the face of the show, and the Twitter accounts for Late Night and the host complement each other well. Tweets from both accounts use the hashtag #LNJF to build the show’s identity on Twitter. This is an important approach for differentiating the present setup, especially since the show’s personality will likely change when Seth Meyers takes over role.
One of Late Night’s inventive additions is a willingness to incorporate elements of Twitter into the broadcasts. Fallon sometimes selects a hashtag and asks viewers to use it in tweets. That hashtag gets promoted both on the official Late Night Twitter account and on his personal handle. He then reads the funniest tweets from fans live on the show. It’s a clever way to unite social media presence with the on-air experience.
The show has also used Twitter to highlight one of the quintessential talk show features: the opening monologue. Late Night’s account shares good zingers from the intro with the hashtag #fallonmono. For a show that often emphasizes musical performances and viral videos, this is a smart approach for giving the classic late night element a bigger role in Late Night’s online presence.
The cable network has been active in encouraging fans to use hashtags when discussing its top shows. Rather than assume that people will know the appropriate tags to use, Bravo has six of its popular shows listed by hashtag on the cover photo of its Twitter profile.
This approach is particularly interesting because most of the network’s different programs do not have their own dedicated Twitter handles. All of the information about Bravo’s shows is centralized under the @Bravotv account. By encouraging discussion of the shows via hashtag, Bravo can more precisely monitor and drive the conversations.
The strategy also allows for more individual voices to make up the unified presence of Bravo on Twitter. In any given day, the network’s Twitter feed could include updates about shows, tweets from hosts and other celebrities, or fan responses to the latest episodes. Since so much of the feed involves retweets, there’s always something new and interesting for followers.
Fan engagement is a major element to Bravo’s Twitter presence. The network has a contest that allows viewers to take over a special Twitter handle, @TheBravoholic, for a week. There’s no official entry format other than tweeting with the channel’s hashtags with regularity and with a unique voice. Offering a relevant prize for fans who are especially active in developing Bravo’s brand presence is a great solution for organically growing the network’s social media base.
Know any other TV shows using Twitter brilliantly? Let us know in the comments.