The Deadly Sins of Social Media

stuart-schneiderman by Stuart Schneiderman, Consumer Insights & Measurement, Viacom Media Networks

Yesterday we unveiled findings from “When Networks Network: TV Gets Social,” our multi-country research on the interplay between TV and social media, and a look at not just how but why our viewers engage in TV-related activities on social media. The study uncovered three chief types of motivations behind TV-related social media activities: functional (getting show schedules and news), communal (branding oneself online and connecting with others), and playful (gaming and contests), with functional motivations trumping the others. In addition to uncovering these motives for engaging, we also wanted to hear from respondents about how TV-related social media falls short. The commonalities helped us create “The Deadly Sins of Social Media” below, which are applicable not just to media companies, but to any brand or advertiser.

  • Not giving essential show information
  • Failing to give fresh, engaging content
  • Posting to the point of spamming
  • Trying too often to get viewers to buy

What we heard from viewers was that they want TV shows and networks to fulfill their functional motivations above all. They expect air dates and times, exclusive content, episode recaps and character bios.

As one 23-year-old participant told us, “Daniel Tosh is the one guy that knows how to use social media well. He will throw a joke in a post that includes the date and time his show is on so I won’t miss it.”

Respondents also admitted that they unfriended or unfollowed brands that were redundant, or posted too often. And since social media is a place for emotion and fun, we found that over-selling was another big sin. These sins are good guidelines for any brand — reminders not to forget basic info and to keep it fresh and engaging without overdoing it. The good news for brands and marketers is that we can provide much of what viewers value most, useful information and exclusive content.

For the full findings from the study, head here.

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