Fueling Social Fandom at #SMWNYC

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom


MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central joined forces on the main stage of Social Media Week in New York to uncap the secrets to building true fandom with audiences.  Tom Fishman (Vice President of Social Media for MTV), Don Steele (Sr. Vice President, Fan Engagement/Multi-Platform Marketing for Comedy Central) and Tom Chirico (Vice President of Digital & Social Engagement for VH1) led an engaging panel titled ‘Fueling Social Fandom at MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central’ with moderator and Lost Remote writer Natan Edelsburg. Before a standing room only crowd, these social media experts moved the conversation beyond driving tune-in with social to reveal their tips for keeping audiences engaged, active and entertained across platforms.

In honor of Social Media Week,  here are some tweets that highlight some of the top moments from the panel. What better way to kick things off than with this pre-panel selfie – evidence that each panelist’s natural knack for humor.


Realness resonated with audience members and all of the panelists emphasized the need for an authentic voice. Yet, this is easier said than done, with the pressure to capitalize on pop-culture moments while avoiding the real-time marketing pitfalls that often accompany pushing out content fast to fans. “If we alienate fans we aren’t doing our jobs, so we find creative ways to put things out there and hope people play along,” said Don Steele.

SMW 2014

It’s about building a conversation, spontaneity and rewarding fans. Tom Chirico admitted that television is “fertile ground for fandom” because they connect with programming. “Fandom is about fans who actively advocate for what they love and taking the content people are creating and giving them some recognition, giving them some shine” said Tom Chirico. Chirico used VH1’s original Crazy, Sexy, Cool film as an example. After realizing how many people were creating YouTube videos featuring TLC’s signature “Creep” dance, VH1’s social team created this Vine sensation / dance tutorial with Left Eye and Chilli. From the MTV Video Music Awards to MTV’s Teen Wolf to Comedy Central’s @Midnight, there were so many great examples of social media success and unique ad integrations to pull from.

To mix things up, the panel kicked off a socially-charged game show called ‘Defend Your Tweet / Instagram’ and the audience rated each panelists’ explanation for why they posted certain humorous content and pictures to their personal social accounts. This was a runaway hit with the audience, not only did the game rouse laughter from the room but it proved that whatever your tweet/ post is fair game.




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