The Power of Social Media Promotion: TV Show Edition

Trending topics, especially on Twitter, is what can help make or break a TV show. Just ask Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a show canceled by Fox, but immediately picked up by NBC due to the response on Twitter. Likely, there were other business decisions in play, but audience feedback is a key indicator of a show’s success or failure, so it’s quite possible the fans, through social media, made the decision an easy one for the network.

How much does social media add to the show-watching experience and are storylines, announcements, or changes decided by the general public? How does social media play a part in it and where do companies miss out by not syncing with their digital audience? Here are our thoughts on how to amplify TV show popularity (and branding, in general) using the power of social media promotion.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Nielsen Ratings reveals how popular shows in the top 10 perform on social media, across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Shows who don’t make this top list can align where their audience is engaging based on the frontrunners.

For example, fans of Grey’s Anatomy, which sits at the number 6 spot, as of October 8, 2018, had 350 Instagram interactions, and 46 interactions on Twitter. Similar show concepts can test targeting their social audience on these two channels.

One way to create more engagement with a TV audience through social media promotion is to create a branded hashtag for fans to follow and use for live tweeting or messaging during the show. Shows under the TGIT umbrella (Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder) interact directly with fans either through the show’s social handle or by actors and actresses of the shows engaging as well.

Shows that are more active on social media have a better chance of creating a more loyal fanbase and intriguing new users who may follow Trending Topics. Even if you’ve never seen these popular shows, if you’re a social media user, you likely have seen comments about it on your newsfeeds, and may have been tempted to follow along.

Create a Reason to “Tune In”

Cliffhangers are notoriously used at the end of a show’s season to get audiences to tune in to next season. However, content creators need to start thinking about what else will have their audience glued to their screens and talking about them even when the show is off the air.

A good example of this pull is Netflix. It’s bringing an old-school method of “choose your own adventure” to its programming in 2018 for its popular original show, Black Mirror. The allure and marketing strategy here is to make it interactive.

Interaction means the audience watching is invested. It’s not something they’ll be flipping through on the way to watch something else. They will be an active participant, who then will likely talk about their experience online.

Acknowledge Your Fan Base

Reality competition shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Voice have largely been popular due to audience participation. People who watch the show can vote on their favorites and feel part of the experience. It seems simple, in theory, but many times brands must tell the audience how to participate and why it matters.

Shows with cult followings and resurgences (or declines) are often the product of a strong social media promotion strategy. It’s not enough to put out great content and hope people will tune in. Like any social media or content marketing play, you have to show people the value of consistently. Make them want to engage.

What Brands Can Learn from a Strong Social Media Promotion

Engagement, innovative value, and consistent fan base appreciation aren’t just ways TV shows can spike their ratings. They are marketing tactics any brand can follow to help their visibility soar on social media. Social media is not a passive tool or a strategy that can afford to go stale. It is a busy space with rules, algorithms, and popularity changing by the day.

Brands must work on speaking directly to their target audience in a way that makes them feel informed and involved.

Let’s talk.