Flashing up a hashtag during live TV is nothing new these days.
Mentioning a Twitter handle during a radio program isn’t anything new either.
But, there is one radio show that is going the extra mile and increasing listener interaction as a result.
It is a great example of the infinite possibilities social media has created for traditional media and we can all learn a thing or two from it.
Mike and Mike on ESPN
American audiences will be familiar with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, the hosts of Mike and Mike, an early morning radio show on ESPN radio.
If you live elsewhere, you may not be familiar with them, but all you need to know is that they set the standard for sports talk radio programming.
Instead of just adding the obvious social media layers to the show, Mike and Mike (and their production team) genuinely instigate and encourage conversations on and off their own social media channels.
There’s one specific example I spotted today which I wanted to highlight.
As with most sports talk shows, the silly things athletes do are often a popular topic of conversation.
In today’s show, the hosts discussed an illegal tackle NFL player Ndamukong Suh made in a game over the weekend.
As with most sports talk shows, listeners are invited to call in and add to the discussion (although these guys don’t take that many on air calls) and, as has become the trend, people are also encouraged to ‘add to the discussion on social media’.
This is one of my most hated terms traditional media has adopted since they realised social media wasn’t a threat, but rather the best thing that could have ever happened to live programming.
In this instance, they posted a question and image on Facebook (see right) at the same time the Ndamukong Suh conversation was happening on air.
This made it SO EASY for people who were listening, and people who weren’t, to get involved in a specific conversation.
I bet it made a few non-listeners switch on the show because of the specific topic being discussed.
This is very different to just instructing people to ‘add to the conversation’.
Where do you want me to do that? How can I see what other people are saying? Do you really care what I have to say?
This simple method of signposting a featured discussion makes it easy to participate.
It makes it easy to see what other people are saying.
The guys then pick out the best comments and mention them on air.
They have removed all the barriers that are normally in the way.
Like i said, subtle but clever.
How can other publishers, brands and organisations adapt this approach?
Another thing you often see on social media is repetitiveness.
This is especially common when live sport is on.
GOAL! GAME OVER! WICKET! TOUCHDOWN!
We’ve all seen it, the social media accounts of the teams, venue and sponsors all spit out the exact same update as each other, at exactly the same time.
You’re not adding any layers to what is happening, and you’re definitely not adding any unique value.
Not to mention, fans can share the obvious stuff, but if you have access to additional data and content, use it.
It could be an unusual stat. It could be an image that wasn’t captured on TV.
Just like in real life, sometime the most obvious thing to say turns people off more than it helps them tune in.
One last publisher example
Suits, a popular TV drama about a NYC law firm, is one of the most innovative shows on TV from a social media perspective.
Instead of just flashing up a #Suits hashtag during the show, specific discussions are often instigated.
In one instance, a male character had to make a choice between two girls that he had a love interest in.
The producers asked the audience to vote on which girl he should choose by posing the question on screen and getting people to use the hashtag of the character the audience wanted him to choose.
This wasn’t a live show like X Factor, this was a pre-recorded TV show which used a plot story line to encourage a specific conversation as it was shown.
Again, a little thing, but it increases viewer engagement and buy in.
Suits has also partnered with social dating app Tinder to help unlock exclusive content.
As mentioned earlier, these might seem like little things, but both Mike and Mike, and Suits have considered the social media participant and shaped engagement points around their behaviour and preferences.
This is a lesson that can be taken on board by any organisation, publisher or not.