Monday, March 19, 2012

Social TV--It's All About the Experience

The same way social and mobile merged on the scene -- in bubbles that broke large and small on the surface of the Internet marketing vista -- I’m seeing social TV bubbling up now.
Smart marketers who like to be where the action is just when it’s getting started are turning their attention to the social TV space where companies and their technologies are enhancing the Web TV experience (First question: Is it still “TV” if it’s delivered via the “Web,” and isn’t it bound by the conventions of one direction on a controlled schedule to the masses?) with tools that facilitate engagement between people and:

  • the brand (“TV show”)
  • their friends
  • the advertisers
Important to note: in this model, the brand is the thing around which people are congregating, in other words, the TV show. The brand is not the advertiser, who becomes, in this model, a member of the audience (though in social marketing parlance, the audience is called stakeholders because they are not targets of broadcasts but are active participants in the experience).

Ron Schott produced a great list of social TV companies to learn more about in the February 2nd post for Search Engine Watch on social TV. He includes information on up and comers including GetGlue, which encourages people to tell each other what they’re engaging with — or even what they’re thinking about — รก la early Twitter. But GetGlue goes even further, enabling people to get stickers that they can put in their real world to connect their online and offline realities.

Miso, IntoNow, Peel, Yap.TV, TunerFish and Viggie are other social TV devices/communities that are covered in Ron’s article. It’s a quick read and worth the time to check out.

Are you having a hard time believing all of this social TV action is going to lead somewhere? Remember all the people who saw Facebook and Twitter as “fads?” What I find fascinating about new technologies and communities emerging out of them is how often they morph from the original intention into something much more powerful. “The Facebook” started out as campus connector at Harvard. Twitter was a way to text your status to your “followers” online. Both have gone so far beyond their initial business plans because -- and this is what I really love about social technologies -- the users co-create the communities to meet their evolving needs.

The Internet was going to be the death of television, but, instead, productions that would have started out on TV or in the movie theater are jumping right to the Web. Artists are becoming their own brands, building audiences out of thin air and making their stakeholders feel like their true best friends — and attracting advertisers — big ones — in the process (check out Dave Days on YouTube).

Younger audiences demand interaction, not just with their games and their friends via games but with the information that is still being designed to be broadcast to the masses. Through social interaction, they personalize the experience and make it their own. “Why just watch a TV show when you can engage with it and with your friends, real and virtual, at the same time” is the rhetorical question they ask and answer.

It’s all about the all-encompassing experience, and smart marketers are not waiting for this to catch on. They’re immersing themselves and their brands in the experience right now.

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