10 Ways to get the social and TV Chemistry right

MUMBAI: "How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?" - Seth Godin

During the early 90‘s India froze with bated breath every Sunday for watching ‘The‘ Mahabharata. I just shudder to think the amount of online chatter, jokes and #hastags which would have been created if social media was then what it is today.

So two decades later after crossing some epic shows like Kyunki, KBC & Big Boss most of us know Social & Tv is a marrige made in heaven but are you getting the chemistry right?

Well I believe there is still a lot of untapped potential. Here‘s few suggestions to get it right:

The Indian television industry is also slowly agreeing to this culturally rich inter caste marriage. What they are realising is social media is no longer a gimmick. This is how we Indians want them to communicate with us and this is how we ‘are‘ communicating with each other about them. It started last year when MTV India was awarded the best social media TV program by Mashable.

Social network activity certainly influences behaviour. Few months back when in Bade Acche Lagte Hai the lead pair Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar shared the famous/infamous lip-lock the twitterati went berserk. Hundreds of blogs were written overnight and it got more than 2 million views in youtube just in the official video uploaded by setindia. Was it good for the "TRP"? You bet!

One can assume based on psychological studies this type of social commerce is driven by either #FOMO (fear of missing out) or social proof. Both very essential elements of Indian social media that marketers can tap well. Rewind a little and think when in your news feed you see a friend passionately commenting on Scrubs or a new show you haven‘t heard of doesn‘t this question strikes you once, ‘Am I missing something great that my peers are talking about‘? And more importantly, wouldn‘t you agree that single comment not done for you manages to intrique you enough to atleast once check it out? That‘s the power of #FOMO.

In the Indian social media chapter people want to get more involved with the shows and the characters. If you look back you will find almost every popular charcter has a exclusive facebook page and a twitter handle. Social Media brings the tv characters to life. It‘s like parallely running a tv show after the show is aired. And the cherry on the cake, people always want to talk to their favourite characters.

We at Brandlogist while working on one of ZEE‘s prime time show Phir Subah Hogi (PSH) took this insight and took it to the next level. We created 7 individual facebook profiles of the main cast of the show who were conversing with the fans on a very real and personal level. The engagement was pleasantly surprising. In place of the usual one liners, fans were literally writing 20-25 lines of genuine heartfelt feedback. They were not talking to a "brand" they were talking to the characters of the show with such impressive belief and passion we realised how much they want to participate in a two way conversation & feel belonged.

Facebook is not the end of the world. Social & Mobile addes another dimension to your marketing reach and strategy. Your points of conatct increases and you are omnipresent everywhere your viewers are. Globally television check ins in smart phones & the concept of social TV is becoming a common phenomenon & by 2013 am sure even India would start embracing it. For PSH, we had created a BBM profile for the protagonist Sugni. It was a well thought experiment which worked in our favour, the fans now to talk to their favourite character no longer had to even had to log in Facebook. They excitedly pinged "Sugni" from their mobiles telling her to be strong and how they are with her in every step.

Another reason why this marriage of these two channels is important is because it extends a show beyond the television viewing occasion. Gone are the days where after the weekly show people talk about it the next time its aired. One of the best example is Big Boss. Don‘t you still randomly come across a Sunny Leone joke? Or you really think HIMYM or Friends today would have been what it is without its extensive presence in social media? From Facebook to Twitter, television talk is a daily occurrence. For making the show timeless all you need to do is let your audiences freely share their thoughts with you, be cool in taking a joke, be there to appreciate their selfless involvement with your show or brand. Remember the takeaway is to BE THERE where all is happening. Nokia often shares pictures of 9GAG which their fans. Those pictures I see keep coming back every year with a little tweak.

For any popular show there are hundreds of fans talking about the show online. Just by connecting to them you can build and mutliply your reach not just to them but also their friends. Don‘t underestimate the impact of just monitoring and responding to already scattered thousands of opinions and comments about your show online via Fb, Twitter, blogs & forums. Just by tracking & talking to people who were mentioning PSH online we got hundreds of "love your show" from Nigeria to Nagaland. (And mind it we did no campaign for Zee. Imagine the efficacy of just ‘reverting‘)

One certain thing, digital chatter has infinite power to provide television executives with new insights into what viewers think about their programs. The instant audience feedback they can get, intended in the first place for other viewers, but also ‘available‘ to them & their content & research teams, in turn provides a potentially very rich stream of data revealing observed evidence of how viewers are ‘reacting‘ to their shows & concepts. This type of connectivity gives networks insight not only as to how people are watching and consuming media but also their degree of engagement, insights that were previously imprenetable.

We at Brandlogist are also exploring Online Focus Groups- making the feedback more real, effective & cost efficient with a wider demographic. We see this being the trend for the industry in the time to come.

Satyamev Jayate successfully used social media & received more than one million messages each week and had got more than 1.25 billion impressions online in two months. Was it possible to do this standalone in the television platform? Am sure you might recall the thousands of shared videos & pictures of SJ apart from the millions of tweets & status updates that happened right after the show. In social media things are in black and white. When you want to spread something either it‘s the Friends way where one can connect global fans together via different fun & funny campaigns or the SJ or #kony2012 way where you bring serious people together who are determined to bring a positive change in the world. The mechanism though remains the same & if done strategically knowing exactly where to tap, you need not to be a Aamir to create a revolution out of a television show.

I had once read a quote which said, social networks aren‘t about Web sites. They‘re about experiences. And isn‘t television also not about shows but the impact they bring in our life creating a memorable experience? One word I have seen television experts use the most is how "dynamic" the medium is, how scripts & themes can change overnight according to viewer demand. Will you find a more "dynamic" medium than social media to understand those nitty gritties?

Believe in this arranged marriage it is destined to be a love story which people will look up to in the next decade.

(Abhik Choudhury, Brand Analyst BRANDLOGIST)

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