Unlike its traditional counterparts, social media has provided marketers with new and creative ways to leverage their content to make a more profound impact on fans. As a result, it has become more than just another marketing tool for networks. It has become a place where shows can personalize content for fans before, during and after the show airs. Additionally, the networks can track, in real time, how well their content is performing and can quickly optimize based on the results they get.

User Engagement

According to a study from Twitter, more than two-thirds of fans report sharing opinions about the shows they watch on Twitter. The influence doesn’t just stop there as 40% of fans convince others to watch television shows. In terms of active audience engagement, the networks can use social data to create highly personalized content for fans. For example, Mr. Robot was able to drive engagement by appealing to comic book fans with pop-art styled posts on their Facebook page. In another case of prompting users to engage with the show, Fox had fans tweet questions for star Taraji P. Henson with the hashtag #FOXWednesdays alongside a cookie emoji in return for a video response from the actress as well as the chance to win a prize.

Tracking Performance

The same data treasure trove that can inform networks about what kind of content to make can also inform them about how well their content is performing. Lifting the hood of the social media engine allows networks to see sentiment and engagement behind their most recent posts. Some tools exist to gather user comments and create graphical representations that can showcase how well content is being perceived by fans, making the comment section on posts an invaluable resource.

Sometimes, however, these tools can be misleading as AI sentiment tracking has not yet reached the more sophisticated area of human thinking where some words that would be deemed negative by AI are actually positive within the context of the post. A combination of social analytics tracking as well as understanding Google Analytics traffic can give networks a better sense of how popular individual posts are amongst the core audience.

Leveraging User-Generated Content

In addition to tracking their performance, marketing teams can also spotlight content from fans and repurpose them into owned content. In one example, Hallmark drove conversation around their show “When Calls the Heart” by having fans share photos of their viewing parties with the hashtag #PartyLikeAHeartie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The show motivated fans to participate by offering a Skype call with the stars of the show to the best #PartyLikeAHeartie picture. In another example of leveraging fans to engage with one another, Netflix launched the heralded series Narcos in France by having social media influencers post images of money with the hashtag #NARCOS sprinkled on in white, powdery letters. This campaign was successful in that it caused the show to trend on Twitter the night before its premiere.

Going Outside the Box

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not the only online channels subject to the whims of savvy marketers. The marketing team behind Netflix’s megahit “Stranger Things” used Twitch to host a four-hour live stream during which Twitch influencers played video games in an 80s-themed basement in order to evoke feelings of nostalgia, a key component of the show. After the stream, fans were treated to a preview of the first episode of the series.

With content at the tip of viewers fingers as a result of social media and online communities, it has never been easier for marketers to connect with potential fans in innovative ways that have never been seen before. A combination of content creation, tracking, and content optimization allows network marketers and creative teams to interact with fans for a more personalized experience that can lead to significant jumps in channel engagement and, eventually, higher ratings.