Multi-screening - where consumers use smartphones, tablets and/or laptops while watching TV - is by no means a new concept but many brands are yet to embrace this opportunity to reach their audience during this period.
Even way back in 2012 research highlighted that 75-85% of UK TV audiences were using another device while watching, with around a 5th of this audience talking about the TV programme they were watching on Facebook or Twitter.
Therefore why would brands not join the conversation and engage with their audience on programmes relevant to their audience and perhaps even the brand? And can this type of social media content build brand loyalty?
Even if a brand is online sales focused, multi-screening is still an opportunity to connect and engage with your audience via social media to create a loyal following, as well as increase brand loyalty and establish brand personality.
Out of the social mediums, Twitter positions itself nicely as the place for TV conversations saying ‘Twitter extends conversations beyond the living room, allowing viewers to discuss what they’re watching in the moment’. It has become a hub for all forms of live-tweeting, from events and conferences to TV programmes.
Live-tweeting does exactly what it says on the tin. A brand tweets about events as they happen - often during popular reality TV shows, sports matches or award ceremonies. It can be used to show your brand personality and opinion on aspects of the TV programmes in a way that relates to your business and your follower’s interests.
For a variety of brands or businesses live-tweeting can be a powerful way to drive conversations and build a loyal audience. Twitter sees great value in the mechanism and suggests promoting the TV related tweets to attract and engage with a wider audience. But firstly it is important to consider live-tweeting best practices to engage with your audience.
Firstly you need to consider which TV programme/s is relevant to your audience and whether it is appropriate for your brand to be associated with the programme. Some programmes may be naturally aligned to your brand and products, whereas others may just be topical or simply targets the same demographic.
If it is the first time the brand has live-tweeted you may want to build a buzz before the event with some teaser posts in which you can ask questions and engage with the audience ahead of the programme. Especially if it is a series finale, you may want to warn your following to avoid any complaints about spoilers! Although most Twitter users accept that live-tweeting is the norm and spoilers may occur!
At the same time it is important not to bombard your following and only tweet about aspects of the programme that is relevant to your brand and audience - nobody wants a programme to be narrated to them on Twitter. Instead it’s a brand’s chance to show personality and add the brand’s opinion to events and humour if appropriate.
Nielsen research of US TV audiences found that throughout a series, different Twitter users tweeted about the series during different episodes with the season finale logically being the most talked about. Therefore brands would naturally join the conversation during the finale of a series, but it is recommended to live-tweet programmes ahead of the finale and ensure that the brand’s knowledge of the programme and your audience’s views are well informed.
Most TV programmes have hashtags or audiences of programmes create their own. Where relevant use these to engage with a wider audience than just your existing following. Perhaps tweet or join conversations with the hashtags before a programme starts.
The Nielsen research also found that users who tweeted about three or more episodes showed valuable traits for TV networks and advertisers. Therefore this audience is a loyal and returning crowd speaking about a subject more than once and one that brands should aim to connect with. Those users who tweet about 3 or more episodes of a series were also found to have more followers and more likely to send tweets about brands.
Twitter’s own research suggests that brands that live-tweet see greater follower growth and retweets, so it really is a no brainer!
The main things to take away before embarking on live-tweeting is to ensure the TV programme is right for your brand and audience. It is also important to make sure that you have a good process of checks that can allow tweets to be sent out that are on brand, appropriate and timely. Finally you need to make sure that the people tweeting for the brand have excellent spelling and grammar and know the brand’s values and TV programme inside out, to avoid any embarrassment during the session.