Reality Television consumes a monumental amount of television airtime. From Big Brother to Britain’s Got Talent to Over the Rainbow and right back round to The X Factor, like it or not (and personally I love it) reality TV is here to stay. But what is making the format so successful? Is it the feeling of giving someone a shot at fame that’s making the audience tune in? Or is it the fact the nation has turned into an association of ‘armchair experts’ offering their critique without any experience or training in the field?
Personally, I believe it’s through Social Media that the networks are still able to invest as much as they do to new reality formats. The joy of any reality TV programme is no matter whether you watch it or not you have an opinion and you’ll be talking about it. Even better than that? The likes of Facebook and Twitter provide the perfect platform for the armchair audience to create their own communities online of both fans and cynics. Many a time I’ve posted criticism or established my favourite contestant through my Facebook status, walked away and returned to a mass of notifications from friends agreeing, disagreeing and some telling me to stop watching Reality TV and to ‘get a life’. Within time, the production companies behind the shows noticed the buzz that was happening online and started to get in on it themselves – Facebook pages were set up and monitored, with fans being brought together to chat about the show without the cynics, hashtags were introduced by the fans on Twitter and then actively promoted by the show through their twitter accounts. Big Brother went as far as creating a whole Social Media hub for its last series posting videos and sneak peeks, and asking fans what they’d like to see in the show. By taking this approach the show managed to gain back a wealth of fans that had previously moved on…and why? Because they saw their friends discussing it on their newsfeeds through all their social platforms. Word of mouth is still proving to be the most successful piece of marketing a company can ask for.
So how can businesses in the ‘Real World’ learn from Reality TV? Engagement. All of the Reality TV shows jumping on the bandwagon manage to get the perfect balance between broadcasting and engaging. By asking their audience for opinions they easily provide a platform for their ‘customers’ to discuss their product, therefore generating buzz and bringing in new customers/viewers. Here at Percepta we believe the best way to promote your business through social media is to engage with your current customers, and the doors will naturally open to new customers. By creating a conversation you show that you care and automatically create a positive feel about your company/brand. And if there are any cynics out there? You should have engaged with your fans enough that they would have already supported you before you even had a chance to hit reply.
What are your thoughts on the trend of TV shows making the transfer between one media to another? Do you think businesses can learn from their success?