Let’s face it, you’re pretty uncool. You aren’t connected to local events and have basically no idea what to watch on TV. How can you possibly get in the know?
Fortunately, you have a Twitter account.
Twitter has been testing out two new features to bring people out of their caves and into the party.
The first feature sends alerts to users about events that are tending nearby. In an effort to connect on a local level, Twitter is placing the hashtags of events on the top of some users’ phone screens. For example, if multiple people in your area are tweeting with #HartfordDogShow, then the hashtag will pop up and a user’s tweet about the event will be placed underneath it. You can click through the hashtag to read more tweets about the event like the location, time, and cost.
Not only is this meant to help people get out and explore their towns, it’s meant to help users connect with each other at local events. If people are tweeting with a unified hashtag then they can connect with more people there. The Twitter banner encourages people to use #HartfordDogShow, not #HDS, not #DogShow, etc.
If the idea of real-life social interaction is about as appealing as a colonoscopy then Twitter has a back-up plan to keep you on their app. TechCrunch reported that Twitter is playing with the idea of a TV Trending banner.
Some users are seeing boxes popping up that advertise a trending show, hashtag, and accounts related to it. Interestingly, the banners are guiding users to the discussion and bringing them into the party. What is Twitter already talking about? What is already popular?
In a world of recorded TV shows, producers and network executives are trying to get more viewers to tune into live TV. One way is to provide exclusive insights that viewers can’t get from watching an episode online – like live tweeting from the cast. Stars of Grey’s Anatomy take turns live tweeting throughout the season, and Jeff Probst regularly tweets during Survivor episodes.
Producers also want people discussing the show with fellow Twitter users. Fans can come together and geek out about a show even if their friends in real life haven’t seen it yet.
The key to both of these new tools is the use of unified hashtag use. It banks on sports fans having discussions at the park or while watching TV with #RaysBaseball instead of #Rays, #TBRays, or #TampaBay.
If you go to Wendy’s today and order a Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, will you use the hashtag #Wendys or #PretzelLoveSongs? If you go to KFC, will you use the hashtag #IAteTheBones? All too often, marketers will try to create a hashtag that doesn’t stick, leaving their social media department out in the cold while the discussion is somewhere else. The forced-viral marketing divides the conversation into multiple hashtags.
These two updates will keep the Twitter app open while users attend events or watch TV, but can also provide research for which hashtags work and which ones don’t. Will cute marketing hashtags take off? Or do users gravitate to the most basic name? Marketing geeks: brace yourselves, the case studies are coming.