Earlier this evening I wrote a blog about my frustrations in discovering the conversations happening around brands (my favorite TV shows, to be exact). I hit “Save Draft” in WordPress, then sat down to watch NCIS with my trusty iPad in tow. Mere minutes into the show I did a routine checkup on Hootsuite and discovered this from @McProulx: “Crunchgear’s @johnbiggs reviews 3 “Social TV” apps [Video]. A must watch for #TVnext peeps: http://tcrn.ch/hjDR2R”
This one tweet basically negated my entire blog. And that’s what I love about this industry.
In my professional life, I’ve been told many times about the importance of knowing what you’re talking about, but I think the ability to admit when you’ve been wrong is way more important. Some may say it’s bad form to blog about something you aren’t an authority on, but I strongly believe that it’s all part of the learning process. The ability to learn and be willing to change your opinion is crucial to adapting to unforeseen situations – which arise every day in the professional world.
So here I am, admitting that what I was about to publish was lacking in information. I’ve included the original blog below as a comparison and reinforcement to my main point: why aren’t networks making it painfully easy for viewers to engage on the second screen?
The tweet above links to an article that discusses an iPad app called Yap.tv, which I hadn’t heard of until tonight. I quickly downloaded the app and immediately fell in love – it’s what I’ve been looking for in terms social engagement around TV shows.
As it stands today, independent companies = social engagement #WIN. Networks = social engagement #FAIL.
I feel like the apps (Bones, Grey’s Anatomy) being developed by networks are missing out on a key aspect viewers are looking for: the ability to 1) SEE what other viewers are saying and 2) CONTRIBUTE to the conversation. I really expected more.
Hashtags have been on my mind lately. As I cultivate lists of people/brands/TV shows to watch, I find myself unsatisfied with the results.
I want to follow the discussions happening around brands that interest me, particularly with my favorite TV shows. I want to see what people are talking about, what they like or hate about the most recent episode, how they’re using the medium to interact with the networks, etc.
Twitter is great because it’s public and you can look into conversations you’d otherwise never have access to, but it’s been difficult to not only find the influencers and moderators, but the conversations themselves. Am I looking in the wrong places? Yeah, quite possibly. I’ll admit, I am learning new things every day about how to use Twitter for conversation discovery, but I feel like something’s missing and it’s not my fault.
An official Twitter feed only shows part of the picture. You can’t easily see @ replies or what people are saying about the brand if they aren’t using an obvious hashtag that you’re also tracking. And if you use Twitter at all, you know how random some of the hashtags can get. This leads me to what I think is a really obvious strategy in social media – establish an official hashtag for your brand – and use it. A lot. Until everyone else uses it too. Jimmy Fallon is a fabulous example of how to use hashtags for successful brand engagement. Though his hashtags change on a daily basis, it’s a key part to his show these days and people know to look out for it.
The hashtag must be identifiable and intuitive to your audience. Making it easy to aggregate comments and feedback is key to measuring social engagement. And isn’t measuring brand engagement the sexy new thing?
I’d hoped that iPad apps like the Bones companion or Grey’s Anatomy app would provide an excellent place for the brand conversations, but I was really disappointed in what these apps had to offer. Neither includes a Twitter feed or an easy “share this” option. If you want people to talk about your show, why wouldn’t you make it painfully easy?