How do people talk about entertainment across social channels?

Everyone has their favorite social network just like they have favorite shows and celebrities, so we thought it would be interesting to look at how the conversation around those favorites has evolved across different networks. Even if you’re not in entertainment marketing, this post should give you a deeper look at the language and culture of various social platforms, giving you a better idea of which one is the best fit for your brand. (Hint: It’s always the one where your audience prefers to spend time.)

Twitter: Live-tweet your heart out

Twitter is, of course, known for the live-tweet: Join in with thousands of others as they tweet along to an awards show, their favorite show each week, or a movie they’re just seeing for the first time. Hollywood has caught on to this phenomenon and extended the sense of intimacy social media gives to fans of celebrities by encouraging the stars of shows to live-tweet along with their fans when the show airs, doing Q&As and sharing their own behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Stars Hayley Atwell and Bridget Regan were active live-tweeters during Agent Carter, and Hayley Atwell continues to post fun behind-the-scenes shots during the off-season to keep fans engaged.

This activity actually boosts overall tweeting about the program, based on research from Twitter themselves:

“As it turns out, one of the most powerful and direct ways to drive conversation about a program on Twitter is to have the stars of the show engaged on Twitter, particularly during the airing. In fact, we found that shows live-Tweeting from cast members during the premiere had 64% more Tweets that day compared to programs that did nothing.”

Aside from live-tweeting, fans tend to tweet about how excited they are leading up to a broadcast, or make a lot of cynical jokes about it if it’s an awards show (but hey, they’re still watching it!). They’ll follow official accounts and chat with each other about different fan theories, but this is obviously all a bit truncated due to the 140-character limit on tweets. Fans who want more, more, more on their favorites- especially during the off-season- head to Tumblr.

Tumblr: Where fandom lives

Tumblr is the undisputed home of fandom. This is the place fans go to share their fan-fiction (fanfic), write posts about different character and storyline theories (or their own “fanon”; things they’ve read in fanfic or theories they’ve seen reblogged that they’ve added to the canon of the show for themselves) and theories about the larger universe behind a show or film franchise, write about the actors who portray their favorite characters and share photos of them, create and share fan art, and so much more.

Tumblr Fandom
Image via Tumblr staff blog.

You might read that and think, well, isn’t that what fans do on every social network? What makes Tumblr so special? And the answer is the reblogging feature: Being able to reblog someone else’s fan theory and add your own thoughts to it really accelerates the conversation and makes it deeper. Certain posts become inside jokes for a fandom, and fandoms even create their own “official” blogs, run right alongside official blogs from a network. (The official Doctor Who Tumblr often reblogs fan art and other fan posts to keep their readership engaged.)

Sometimes fandoms merge into super fandoms, like SuperWhoLock, a mix of Doctor Who, Sherlock and Supernatural fans. Sometimes the actors themselves get involved in a fandom, like Orlando Jones and the Sleepyheads (Sleepy Hollow fandom).

All of this adds up to fans being very engaged in their shows between seasons, and giving an even longer shelf-life to Tumblr content as old fandom posts can resurface to be rehashed and reblogged again and again with newer insights and theories.

Facebook: Beware spoilers

There are a few different forms of fandom on Facebook:

  1. Pages built as hubs for fandom outside of Tumblr to share information, as seen here.
  2. Individual, often spoiler-filled posts on your NewsFeed from various friends and family members after a big finale like Game of Thrones.
  3. Posts from Facebook themselves around different fandoms like March Madness.
FB Fandom

Facebook is the perfect place for a friend to drop a link about your favorite show onto your wall or even set up a private group to plan a viewing party, but fandom doesn’t go as deep here as it does on Tumblr, and it’s more difficult to live-Facebook a show than it is to live-tweet it. Twitter feeds move much faster than Facebook News Feeds do, making them much more ideal for sharing the experience of a live-viewing with an audience.

Instagram: Fans share excitement in photo form

It might not seem like the most intuitive way to use Instagram, but fans definitely post about their favorite shows and the actors in them on their Instagram accounts alongside their personal photos. Sometimes they share official promotional photos from a show’s upcoming season, or maybe the set-up for their viewing party. Smart brands know about this activity and capitalize on it, becoming part of the conversation that’s already happening. For examples see how Teen Wolf fans post about the show on Instagram, and learn from the very best in terms of audience engagement with ABC Family’s Instagram activity.

#Repost from @prettylittleliars! Totally our #wcw! #pll (x)
#Repost from @prettylittleliars! Totally our #wcw! #pll 

Sports fans are active in their Instagram activity too, and you can see examples in our posts about The World Series on Instagram: San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals or The NHL on Instagram: On being official, fans, and more.

The majority of the connection and amplification of posts on Instagram comes through hashtags; fans can find other fan accounts they may want to follow by using Instagram’s improved search, and any entertainment brands who want to get in on those conversations would be wise to listen to the talk that’s already happening before figuring out how to encourage it and join in.

The bottom line?

That’s just what we’ve seen looking at fan activity in these places over the years. Does your personal network look different? Tell us about it in the comments, or on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

You’ll also notice we haven’t talked about fan activity on Pinterest, Snapchat, or live-streaming apps. How have you seen fans or fandoms using those?