Social Media Integration Becomes the Rule for the 2013 TV Season
The 2013 Fall TV season is underway but in addition to a crop of fresh TV shows, you'll also see something else new - an abundance of social media mentions.
TV shows have been referencing Facebook and Twitter for a couple of seasons, but it was more of an exception than the rule. This year more shows will be integrating social media into the series itself with second screen apps, live actor Tweet chats, and bonus content on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Going forward, expect to see a hashtag in the corner of nearly every show because starting next week, Nielsen will be publishing new overnight Twitter scores. Now, a TV series will be held accountable for not only the number of viewers they bring in, but the engagement level on Twitter.
Here's a look at how some of TV's top shows are using social media.
Dancing with the Stars:
For the last few seasons, Dancing With The Stars has included live Tweets on screen after every performance and online voting. This year, they've also partnered with Facebook to show which dancers are getting the most buzz.
Using new technology, DWTS producers can pull real-time data from Facebook including reactions by gender, age group or region. Last week, the show noted that Bill Nye the Science Guy was trending on Facebook in spite of, or maybe because of, his poor scores. This week, the host also mentioned the considerable number of views on Bill's performance video.
Though he was in the bottom, Bill Nye was saved by the fans. It will be interesting to see if there is a correlation between trending stars on Facebook and who goes home the following week.
Syfy is also using live social media results but in a very different way. They solicit Twitter Tweets during the first run of their make-up competition series Face-Off. Then, in the next hour, they repeat an episode and feature the Tweet comments from the fans. They call it a Tweet-peat, and it's a great way to get viewers to tune in to a recent rerun because everyone wants to know if their comment will show up on screen.
Style Network: Fashion Week
Style Network by-passed the big boys in favor of Pinterest for their integrated Fashion Week promotion. Designer Michael Kors spearheaded the project saying,
"Pinterest is a great way to let my fans in on what makes the brand tick. We build boards by the color of the season, featuring fabric patterns and architectural details that inspired the clothes and the accessories. We show destinations that sparked ideas for a specific collection and we have boards that feature my favorite style icons. Pinterest lets me connect with my customers in a visual way, which is so important in the world of fashion."
Style Network used the trending fashion boards and influential pinners as part of their Fashion Week special.
Person of Interest
CBS's returning crime show Person of Interest is inviting fans to submit their photo through a new Facebook app. The app determines your "threat level," then creates a profile picture you can post on your timeline. You can then submit the photo to the show's producers and it might show up in a future episode.
NBC makes the connection even more personal with their new app "Are You on the Blacklist."
Login through Facebook and the app automatically searches your friends list to see if they can be trusted. Then, the app cleverly integrates footage of the actors on the show seemingly interacting with photos of your Facebook friends. You're then asked a series of questions designed to make a few of your friends look guilty. If you want to clear your name, you have to implicate someone else.
It's only a game, but after the first question it starts to feel very invasive. Then again, that's the whole point.
These days, TV viewers have hundreds of TV shows to choose from during prime time. It's not enough to just put on a good show, in order to keep the remote on the table, networks have to do all they can to make viewers a part of the experience. That's what social media integration is all about.