I’ve been on Twitter for years.
Since 2008, actually, when I joined while writing my Masters’ Thesis on the changing nature of political marketing into political relationship management that was driven in large part by the (then) Advent of digital social connections.
I could go on and on. I won’t.
But here’s the thing, from the very start my favorite time to tweet has not been during weekly #-chats, or when I read a compelling article, or in response to a question, or even when I am eating somewhere new (although tweeting while traveling in Europe was pretty fun) … Nope. My favorite time to tweet has always been while watching T.V.
I confess. It’s a guilty pleasure.
My hubby and I like TV. We’ve been Survivor fans from the start. We loved 24. I host parties to screen the Oscars. Superbowl closes out the winter holiday season in this house. And for the last four years, Twitter has been part of many “big” TV watching moments.
Why? It’s fun. I’m social. And it’s like watching your favorite show with a big room of like-minded others who generally cheer when you cheer, jeer when you jeer, and giggle at snarky inside jokes that nobody else would understand.
We’re not alone. Back in January 2011, Yahoo reported that 86% of mobile Internet users were engaging while watching TV. TV passive? No longer it seems.
Don’t even get me started about how much I enjoy watching political television while tweeting (#sotu anyone?). So intense is my enjoyment that last night as I ordered my favorite take-away, poured a glass of one of my favorite wines, and hunkered down on the sofa to watch the season premier of Castle, I had my iPad right there with TweetDeck all fired up and ready to go.
And that’s when it hit me. THIS is the kind of verve, enthusiasm, and top-of-mind connection that so many businesses and organizations are killing themselves to create. Well … good luck. If you’ve got Nathan Fillion you stand a chance.
But truthfully, there are some practical lessons to be gleaned from observing how TV-tweeters engage that you can apply to your social efforts.
Real time matters
Let’s take the example of last night’s #Castle premier. The fervor was centered around the coast-to-coast time slot of the premier, and already this morning it’s tapered off. It will be quieter through the week, and gin back up next Monday night.
Recognize that real time events are a fantastic spark for your organization, but have a plan for the lull. For example, this week it would be super if @Castle_ABC used the fan interest to point us to neat elements on their website, released teasers for the next episode, etc. (And they probably will.)
A # is always better when it comes from the people
Again with #Castle, the official ABC tweets and those of the cast and crew all pointed fans to the #Castle tag, and most of us participated by adding that to our posts. BUT, there was also a genesis of using #CastleRise (title of the episode) to mark posts, which had a much more organic feel to it. I found myself preferring to search and follow the #CastleRise conversation because it “felt” more authentic and more genuinely “FANatic”.
I’ve seen this play out especially at events, when the organization will suggest an official # for the conference or program. People generally play ball, but play close attention to what they create on their own. And respect it as a participant in their created stream.
Let your fans drive
I’ve said it before and I will probably say it 1,000 more times. Nobody, and I mean nobody joins Facebook, Google+, or Twitter for all the great promotion.
Seriously. Respect the stream and recognize that – to a degree – you are there as a participant and almost a special guest of your fans. Again here, @Castle_ABC did a great job of just sort of popping in and adding valuable content to the stream (more on that below). My personal favorite came at the end when they simply tweeted: “And that’s how you say ‘welcome back'”.
Nicely played. Subtle. Not pushy. They did NOT try to drive the conversation to some predetermined end. They did NOT try to sell me last season’s DVD box set.
Insider tweets are always a hit
That being said, however, as you participate bring something useful to the table. As the source behind the event, organization, or concept being tweeted, you have insider information that the fans will really appreciate. Come loaded for bear, and weave some of it into the conversation. This is particularly effective if you can use your behind-the-scenes content to drive people (naturally and comfortably) to click a link, check out your website, etc.
Always tell a great story
And finally, why does TV-tweeting engage us so delightfully? It’s centered on a terrific story. We’re engaged by the plot. We care about the characters. We may even be uncertain as to the outcome and we live it together.
When was the last time you plotted a social media content story arc? I’m very serious here. Sit and consider your upcoming posts. Are you spewing information? Are you hawking a product? Are you practically spamming people with lackluster information that is hardly interesting (and I mean that with the deepest appreciation for what we all do … but we ALL post boring social content at some point.)
Try telling a story. Try connecting your fans to something with a beginning, climactic middle, and an end. And just see what results.
Oh, and yes – I will be TV-tweeting during much of this week as it IS premier week, but you can definitely dive in and check this out for yourself next Monday, 9PM (CT) for #Castle. I highly recommend it.