Recently, you’ve probably noticed something peculiar popping up on your television screen when you watch your favorite shows. If you’re on Twitter, you know what I’m talking about. They’re called hashtags. Hashtags are a way for Twitter users to mark specific keywords or topics within their tweets for a clickable search. Well, now they practically appear everywhere. Billboards, other social networking sites, and now, television. This is then allowing show viewers to continue a conversation during the show with other viewers.
So, what’s the big deal? TV programs are displaying these #keywords on your screen to engage viewers on a whole new level. Now you can even measure how many people are using social media to share and talk about your show through “social TV ratings” based on number of tweets (Twitter suggests you use Trendrr TV, SocialGuide, or Bluefin Signals to do so). But it’s not just all about the numbers. TV shows are getting creative in how and why they hashtag, and we’ve compiled a list of the best of the best hashtagging shows for you here (in no specific order). I bet you’ve already noticed some of them!
True Blood, a raunchy, vampire-abundant drama series that airs on HBO, recently made it big in the Twittersphere. The series’ fifth season premiere on June 6 pulled off the following (according to Bluefin Signals):
- Ranked #1 all-time for most comments for a premium cable season premiere
- Ranked #2 all-time for most comments for a cable drama season premiere
- Ranked #6 all-time for most comments for any season premiere (all genres, all network types)
Those are pretty impressive accomplishments, all with the help of hashtags of course. HBO aired a marathon recap of True Blood‘s previous season to get viewers ready for the much anticipated premiere, and conducted a Twitter campaign while doing so. They promoted the specific hashtag #makersday (in honor of those vamps who turn, or “make”, humans into vampires) throughout social media, and used some of their own cast to do so. Of course it went viral and the rest is now history, but other programs should take note of this tactic as it proved very successful for HBO.
Pretty Little Liars is #1 all-time for most comments for a cable drama season 3 premiere, according to Bluefin Signals. The ABC family series’ June 5 season premiere racked up a record 534,000 tweets during airtime. 100,000 of them were posted in the first five minutes, and it peaked at about 34,000 tweets per minute. Insane, right? The all-day total reached an impressive 1.3 million tweets. Obviously, this show is popular amongst Tweeters.
The show’s biggest strategy is to show specific hashtags on-air during the actual show. This generates conversation about specific hashtagged topics that you can search for on Twitter and join conversations. The day of season 2′s finale, the show had at least six “top trending topics” on Twitter including A is Mona, Ezra goes public, Dr. Sullivan, ADay, Blind Jenna, Caleb and Hanna.This viewer interaction lands Pretty Little Liars a spot on our top TV shows list.
For the “gleeks” out there, this one’s for you. Glee, FOX’s comedy-drama namely centered around a high school glee club, is one of the top television programs to utilize hashtags during airtime. Although they certainly promote the generic “#Glee” (which is used around 75,000 times during each episode), they like to go beyond the simple and get funky with their hashtags. Some examples include #saturdaynightGLEEver #DiscoInferno and #boogieshoes. Specifically, #saturdaynightGLEEver flashed on the screen for about 24 seconds during an April episode and was used over 8,500 times.
FOX is even going as far as to promote mini spoilers through hashtags to create a buzz around upcoming episodes. In each of the shows, Fox will release a few hashtags relating to big components of each week’s episodes. Not sure how I feel about that, but hey, they’re being creative and Twitter users are responding.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC) is quickly becoming one of the best examples of Twitter hashtag success. Each show, Jimmy Fallon releases the “Late Night Hashtag” and then reads viewers’ funny tweets using that hashtag. One of the most entertaining bits of Late Night, Fallon has struck gold with viewer engagement. He practically doesn’t have to come up with content for this part of the show because viewers do that for him. Tweets are the perfect format because they are short and simple, and you never know what you’re going to see. Some of Fallon’s most successful hashtags are #ThatsMyMom, #AwkwardDate, #ScrewValentinesDay, and the list goes on. You can imagine what some people come up with. For the hilarity this breeds, Late Night deserves recognition on our list.
If you’ve never watched Fringe, you’re not totally out of the loop; the show may be aptly named. With more of a niche cult following, this science-fiction series from FOX recently announced that it would be approaching its last season, but not without a fight. The show’s return for a fifth and final season this fall was a “win” for its passionate, devoted fans, as it was falling fast in the ratings and rumors of cancellation were circling the internet. The show’s loyal Twitterers practically saved the show through attempts to keep the show trending through unique hashtags. Rather than just tweeting #Fringe, viewers came up with specific hashtags for each episode (e.g. #ObserveItLive,#TakeTheLead, and #BeABetterMan) that climbed the Twitter trend chart.
Through hashtagging, Fringe fans brought the show back for another go by gaining new viewers and showing FOX their devotion to the show. Fringe shows us that hashtags can be used for more than just conversation, they can drive action– and that’s a “win” in our book.
So there you have it, five exceptional television shows that utilize Twitter hashtags in innovative ways. From creating conversation, generating user content, and promoting action, Twitter allows users to really make a difference with their hashtags. The next time you watch TV, look out for these hashtags in the corners of your screen- maybe you can learn a thing or two about optimizing your hashtagging. Check out this infographic for more ideas.