Before You Tackle Social TV, Here Are 5 Tips

By Samy Simorangkir There's no question that social TV is growing. Even though people are streaming online and recording shows to watch later, 87% of  broadcast TV and 93% of cable is watched live. Almost half of audiences watch using a second screen, smartphone or tablet, every day.

Social TV is quickly developing from a trend to a real space for marketers to take advantage of. But before you jump in head first, know how deep the water is. When done right, you can engage in meaningful interactions with these audiences on social media and build a relationship between them and your brand. Here are a few tips on how to tackle the world of social TV.

1. Don't Miss Opportunities For Real-Time Content

Especially with live television, people love to react to specific moments and to see what others are saying about it. Keep an eye out for a relevant connection between a key TV moment and your brand. Also, plan ahead. It may seem contradictory to the nature of real-time, but you can often predict possible outcomes during these types of shows. Being aware could be the preparation that sets you apart from the competition.

2. Enhance The Experience - Don't Detract From It

You want to present content that is relevant to your brand, but you don't want viewers to feel like you're hijacking their conversation. The less forced it is, the better. Ask yourself if the person watching this show would find value in a message from your brand, at this particular moment, and if would it add to their TV viewing experience. If the answer is yes, then there may be an opportunity there. Otherwise, you're just the uncool uncle trying to squeeze your way into a conversation.

3. Remember That Social TV Doesn't End After The Show Is Over

At certain moments, when viewers are watching intently, social activity may actually decrease. Sometimes people are so focused on what they're seeing that they're not tweeting. But the discussion may continue afterwards, during a commercial break, later that night, the morning after, or even beyond that. For better or worse, people were still talking about Miley Cyrus weeks after the VMAs. If it makes sense for your brand, if it's relevant, engage in those conversations, and be aware that many of them will be taking the conversation from Twitter to Facebook at that point - perhaps sharing the videos of the live event after the fact.

4. Keep It Light & Steer Clear Of Sensitive Subjects

While much of television chatter is about entertainment, there is also a tendency to live tweet televised political events or serious news stories. Despite the temptation to capitalize on a highly active and engaged audience, these would obviously not be a good place for a brand to insert themselves into the conversation.

5. Relevance Is Key

You may have noticed my overuse of the word "relevant" throughout this article. There needs to be a meaningful connection between your brand and the show that is being watched. Inserting yourself into a conversation can backfire if you're not offering value to the viewer. Don't tweet about The X-Factor just because everyone else is tweeting about it, if it doesn't make sense for your brand. Better to find a smaller audience that will find value in your message, than a large audience that will just brush it off, or worse, be annoyed.

What are some of your tips for integrating social media marketing with TV? Share your thoughts in the comments!