When I was in seventh grade, all the kids in my class watched the same TV shows. Every night we’d call each other after our shows ended to discuss the characters, the plot twists and the overall direction of the show. Social media has expedited and accelerated this group experience to empower a new generation of critics and commentators.
Facebook and Twitter have transformed TV from a solitary or small group experience into a collective nationwide experience. TV shows use social media to solicit immediate input, reaction and votes. Some shows like 2 ½ Men, The Big Bang Theory and Glee actively use social media to mobilize their fans by offering added or behind-the-scenes video clips, post actor/character interviews, sell t-shirts or DVDs and cue audiences to upcoming episodes or involve fans in related games, polls or chat boards.
Consumers use social media to review and critique every aspect of a show. For appointment TV events like big sports games or the Oscars, Tonys, Grammies, The Kennedy Center Awards or the CMA Awards, social media creates a simultaneous parallel experience, We can watch the show and be part of a running commentary at the same time. Often, especially when red carpet fashions are concerned or hosts make noticeable gaffes, this plays out over the next day and extends the viewing experience into the next news cycle.
So it should come as no surprise that 275 million Facebook users have “liked” TV shows 1.65 billion times. The average user has “liked” 6 shows. This cross-media engagement has placed 17 TV shows among the top 100 Liked Pages on Facebook. The three leading “liked” shows track with TV viewing among younger, more socially active audiences; Family Guy, South Park and The Simpsons.
Marketers have the opportunity to use this confluence of media to expand brand franchises, merchandise program sponsorships or TV ad flights and/or guerilla market big mass audience broadcast events. Brands also should participate in the social commentary track when the brand promise aligns with the broadcast subject matter. There’s cost efficient marketing efficiency to be had by riding the media synergy wave.