Social TV: How to Build a TV Audience
A new Nielsen study involving Twitter shows that social media can help a TV show's ratings, not hurt them. While that was more true for reality TV than serious dramas, Nielsen found that in nearly one-third of the TV program episodes studied, Twitter had an effect on ratings.
In the beginning, TV networks started putting Twitter hash tags on screen as a way to generate conversation. Usually it was just a "#" followed by the name of the program in a corner of the screen.
That has evolved into putting a show's stars Twitter handles on the screen, or even their personal tweets or those of viewers. Twitter seems especially geared toward the social TV blending, because hash tags and tweets are easy to display.
Media pros who use Twitter to build their brand now need to focus on ways to generate conversations from others. That may mean asking a question on screen to get people talking. It could be as simple as a local station asking its viewers to tweet about how much snow they have outside their homes to generating a discussion about a prime time network drama's plot twist.
Just like with the 2013 cable TV movie phenomenon Sharknado, people start seeing a conversation on Twitter, then flip on the TV to see what people are talking about. If you can get a star to tweet about the show while it's on air, that's an extra bonus.