Six Ways to Drive Social TV Participation

Social TV behavior is on the rise. The proliferation of portable, connected devices is enabling growth in viewer participation & interaction around shows and movies. These social conversations are now a valuable word of mouth marketing tool, raising the awareness of TV programs overall (Neilsen 2014).

Seems like a fairly logical conclusion right? With more and more people talking online it’s hard not to hear about popular shows, whether you want to or not!

However most digital marketers would probably agree that harnessing consumer behavior to create a highly-successful, socially-powered show is no easy task.

I recently followed the success story of Spredfast customer, Australia’s Network Ten, as they created what we believe was an Australian TV first with their socially activated show, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (#ImACelebrityAU).

I’m A Celebrity delivered the network’s biggest reality series launch since 2009. The “Winner Announced” segment had 1.26 million viewers. According to Nielsen Twitter Australia, 151,917 Tweets were posted throughout the series, and were seen 10.6 million times.  The Facebook page was receiving an average of over 30,000 comments each week during the season run, with 81,000 Likes totaled.

To drive these numbers, Network Ten did a great deal of work. Let’s look at the key factors for Network Ten’s social success:

Be there at the very beginning

Like many forms of TV integration, social ideas should be on the table with all the key stakeholders at (or before) pre-production stage. Otherwise, adding social once production has commenced greatly limits what is achievable.

Keep it simple

Enable easy viewer participation, wherever your audience is across social networks. Network Ten also used SMS for the non-social voters out there—still an important option for some Australian viewers

Reward viewer involvement

 Deliver something relevant and valuable to an audience, thinking beyond prizes. In this case, an Australian TV first allowed social media viewer voting to determine live aspects of the show, such as contestant challenges – perfect. And if you can do this week in, week out— even better. Twitter users also became a part of the show, with choice Tweets about our celebrities read out around the campfire each week.

Smart Content (Digital and On-air)

Use high conversion keywords for the relevant social networks and visually strong content.  Creating a branded show hashtag can help you focus the conversation and drive engagement  (and of course, it will also help you analyse the discussion).  Network Ten also cleverly tapped into key conversational moments with bespoke hashtags (including those created by fans) such as #bedgate and created loads of exclusive content for social.


And don’t forget the importance of on-air pull throughs. Live mentions and ad-breaks can serve as a key driver of social fan participation.

Drive influencer participation

It’s a key to unlock organic reach and awareness. Ensure the cast, the hosts, their followers, and other media personalities in your organization are getting behind the campaign, especially those with over 6M followers! In this case each celebrity had a family member or friend running their social media while they were in the jungle – urging their fan bases to vote to save them.

Post Show Shifting

Audiences dip in and dip out of shows and their social spheres so it’s a great idea to cross promote other relevant or like shows to help shift the audience across programmes and communities.


A long distance bromance ain't easy, folks! Here's what Freddie's doing to get his daily Dr. Chris fix...

Posted by I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Australia on Thursday, March 26, 2015


Whilst no means an exhaustive list of best practices, it’s a simple reminder to us all that solid planning coupled with a well executed, simple idea can go along way for ratings, sponsors and of course social success. 

Want to see how TV shows are using Tumblr to drive fan engagement? Download Volume One of the Smart Social Report!

Adrian Mottershead's picture

Adrian Mottershead

Adrian Mottershead is the Director of Customer Partnerships in Sydney, Australia. Outside of the office, Adrian likes to surf, golf, and watch UFC.