The run-up to the fall premieres of TV’s biggest shows had the twitter-verse in a full-scale tizzy this past week, with juggernauts like Empire, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder kicking off all new explosive runs.
The overall buzz this season was 34% higher than in 2014, with 21 million tweets sent in advance of fall shows. ABC fueled the firestorm with a native-to-Twitter campaign for their three flagship programs that make up the #TGIT (Thank Goodness It’s Thursday) lineup. Working with the platform’s strategy team, the network gave fans who tweeted a specific combination of emoji and show hashtag a special video message from a cast member before a sneak peek of the premiere.
Then last Thursday, as #Scandal, #HTGAWM (How To Get Away With Murder) and #GreysAnatomy trended fans were given a special treat. Hashtags for each of the programs auto-generated their own emojis. These little extras are what Twitter calls ‘Hashflags’, and they’ll likely become a new trend for brands and programs to activate and reward fans for driving engagement.
The ABC line-up wasn’t alone in this strategy last week: Fox’s Empire, which proved to be the biggest ratings-phenom of the 2015 season, had arguably the most anticipated premiere of any show. The episode became the most tweeted one-hour episode of scripted broadcast TV ever (1.3M tweets sent while on air), and Twitter appropriately rewarded #Empire with its own automated E emoji, in the style of the fictional hip-hop corporation run by the Lyon dynasty.
Twitter’s been finding creative ways to implement the strategy for all kinds of events, most recently unveiling a campaign surrounding the Pope’s visit to America. They also recently unveiled their first branded hashflag that’s part of paid ad placement from Coca Cola. Each time #shareacoke is included in a tweet, a custom emoji will appear, marking the first time Twitter has built a custom brand emoji.
The push towards auto-emoji activations shows the power of the emoji trend that’s been a huge part of the platform’s experience – giving users a new mode of expression, and with hashflags, an unexpected, fun reward that’s helping fuel excitement, and activate users. For the full archive of live and past Twitter Hashflags, check out http://hashfla.gs/
And check out our best practices for creators looking to build engagement through social media.
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