Pink handcuffs, puppy chow and fake tattoos might not be what you’d expect at the office, but it was all part of the fun for CMT’s “Dog Pound” during the premiere of Dog and Beth: On the Hunt.
The Dog Pound, made up of 16 social media strategists, graphic designers, marketing managers and IT gurus, was at work long before the show aired; their goal was to connect with fans using social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and Vine.
“Our goal for the social media command center was to drive significant, real-time conversation about the series premiere of ‘Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,’” said John Monson, Manager of CMT’s Social Marketing. “We wanted to be in the living rooms with our fans and interact with them everywhere on social media. We also wanted to provide unique experiences that built brand and show loyalty. When we establish a personal relationship with fans, they will keep coming back for more.”
Engaging with fans has become pivotal to television’s success, as the competition for viewers is growing increasingly strong with entertainment options such as DVR, Netflix, and Hulu. Social media is a pivotal vehicle to competitively set programming apart.
“Real-time marketing has proven to be very effective,” Monson said. “Many people watch TV with a second screen in their hand and don’t want to be left out of what their friends are enjoying.”
Unlike the recent premiere of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, which relied on partnerships with agencies such as Interactive Group R/GA and Horizon Media, the social-response effort was championed by CMT team members alone, who created memes, gathered photos, and prepared content.
During the show, graphic designers created personalized bounty hunter badges using fans’ Twitter avatars. These badges were an audience favorite, and generated a multitude of requests from both fans and celebrities. Watch party photos submitted were edited by designers to include images of Dog, Beth, and Leland, and then sent to the fans via social media. All hands were on deck to respond to viewers’ comments and questions, resulting in full-fledged audience interaction.
The efforts were successful, and within five minutes of the premiere’s opening, #CMTDogAndBeth was trending in the United States on Twitter. From two hours before show time until the following morning, the show was mentioned 25,000 times on Twitter, and over 10,000 tweets used #CMTDogAndBeth.
The Facebook page grew to 227,000 fans, securing the page as CMT’s fourth most popular. During the premiere, the Dog Pound was met with staggering interaction – an average of over 8,000 likes, 800 shares, and 700 comments per post. The social media team employed a new Dog Pack Facebook app for fans that had over 22,000 registered users by the morning after premiere.
Of the app’s success, Chris Nelson, Director of Social Marketing, said, “This is a phenomenal number, and blows away participation numbers from any previous Facebook apps.”
There were over 3,500 check-ins on GetGlue, and a ranking of #3 only following “Game of Thrones” and “Once Upon a Time.”
The premiere of Guntucky, which followed “Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,” received what Nelson called “a healthy volume of conversation,” with 5,500 show mentions on Twitter.
Overall, both shows were well-received and proved successful on social due to the huge team effort of the Dog Pound.