Twitter and the second screen have done a lot for television, expanding our commentary beyond the scope of our living rooms and building digital communities of fans. For showrunners this is huge; live-tweeting encourages people to tune in at the original airtime of a show so they don’t miss anything or get spoiled, plus they get to join in on the live-tweeting fun.
And showrunners can take it to another level too. By live-tweeting the show yourselves- and recruiting appropriate cast members and others- you can make the audience feel like they’re getting more exclusive, behind-the-scenes information and a deeper connection to the show they love.
So how can showrunners get the most out of live-tweeting your TV show? We’re glad you asked!
1. Do some recon
First, do some recon: What’s your audience or target audience already saying about the show? Using keywords and any dedicated hashtags you might already have been circulating via social marketing, see what the conversation is right now.
If you haven’t already been doing any social marketing you can still concentrate on keywords around the show and go back as far as the buzz takes you, using something like Union Metrics Echo which allows you to search the entire Twitter archive.
2. Make a plan based on your recon
Now that you know what the existing tone is around the show, decide how do you want to respond to it. If people are saying they’re excited about the show and can’t wait to watch and discuss it, how can you encourage that conversation? Consider going beyond simply retweeting their tweets to the official show account, but that’s a great place to start.
If the conversation is less than positive, can you disrupt it or lead it in another direction? Consider tapping any influencers that might be able to help with that. Choose the right influencer and they’ll be able to help you rebuild a genuine conversation in a space they’re trusted in.
3. Decide who will tweet
It may or may not be appropriate to create some guidelines around who will live-tweet for the show and how. Be sure you at least know how many show reps will be tweeting and how often (during how many episodes; you don’t need to micromanage number of tweets per episode) they plan to join in. Will you tweet from your own account that identifies you as the showrunner or from the show’s official account? How many cast members might be interested in joining in? Audiences love interacting with the stars who portray their favorite characters.
You might also want to consider a response policy for if another unrelated-to-the-show star chimes in. Who knows; if your back-and-forth tweet exchanges get popular enough, you may be able to finagle a guest appearance on the show itself, boosting both of your social audiences.
Also decide what ratio of fan retweets to your own tweets you’ll do during broadcasts. The point isn’t to overplan what you’re going to do ahead of time but to have a loose idea so you don’t retweet everything coming your way on the show hashtag and fail to contribute any original tweets during the conversation. You probably want a mix of fan content, your own original comments and some back-and-forth with the audience and other show reps.
4. Plan some things ahead of time, but leave room for the spontaneous
If it’s something that works for the format and tone of your show, have some graphics and tweets ready to go ahead of time (you know when the key moments are happening and what they are, after all) but you always want to have room to play off of the audience too.
See how other shows and showrunners are tweeting and decide what elements will work for your show and which won’t. Don’t be afraid to experiment and most of all, just have fun with it.
Finally, be sure you’re measuring the conversation. Something like our Social Suite can help you compare the conversation on Twitter to what fans are saying across other social channels as well.
Featured image via Unsplash.