I’ve recently fallen in love with the show Dominion, on SyFy, and was asked what viewers both in and out of US can do to help the show build social media buzz, and generally how fans keep the show on the air. While this (overly-long) primer is directly aimed at that show, it holds true for any other television show you want to support. Hope it helps!
How to help Dominion succeed:
Whether you’re in the United States or abroad, tweet during the Nielsen Window if you can at all! For three hours before, during the episode, and for three hours after the episode (local time) anything on the Dominion hashtag will help the show’s Nielsen SocialGuide ranking. SocialGuide covers four units of measure:
- Number of Tweets: Obvious. How MANY tweets we put out during the episode. Tweet, fans, tweet like the wind!
- Unique Authors: How many individual Twitter accounts use the tag. (So even if you can just pop in once to tweet the tag on the go during the ep, you’re really helping out more than it seems!)
- Impressions: How many times each tweet was seen. This is why RTs help so much!
- Unique Audience: How many different people see each tweet. This is why it helps a lot when accounts with larger followings pop into the discussion, because it broadens the audience for the tweets (and retweets).
There are two brackets of this on SocialGuide: Live + Same Day (they measure Impressions/Unique Audience all the way until 5AM the next morning!) and Live + 7 Day (all the episode-timeframe tweets Impressions/Audience through a week). The ranking takes ALL OF THESE MEASURES into account. So it’s important we push this from all angles, not JUST the number of tweets, though that’s easiest for us to track!
AROUND THE WEB:
Twitter is IMPORTANT, but it is NOT the only measure of social media activity. The image below tells you another VERY significant way that you can help the show.
Rate the show, and EVERY EPISODE of the show, on IMDB! It’s easy, and you can use your Facebook Account to log in. IMDB is an Alexa Top 50 rated website–one of the 50 MOST USED, MOST INFLUENTIAL sites on the entire internet. It is, quite simply, the number one resource for all things TV and movies. Rotten Tomatoes? It’s not even Top 500! When you rate an episode on IMDB, you are effecting how potential viewers see the show and whether they’re likely to check it out. You’re telling advertisers how popular a show is by how many clicks it’s getting, you’re telling networks how it’s being received, and you’re even helping actors/creators because IMDB often stands as their digital resume to the world. I can’t stress how important this site is enough. Do Dominion a favor and rate it whenever you get the chance, wherever you get the chance (TV.com, Show Ratings, Rotten Tomatoes, wherever!) but never skip the IMDB. You don’t have to write a long review on it (though you’re welcome to!) just use the star system and grade the episodes.
PLAY IT AGAIN!
Didn’t get the chance to watch the episode Live? Watch it within 7 days (within 3 if possible!). Nielsen tracks Live +3 and Live +7 as very important measures of show success. People tuning in on the DVR, as well as legal streams and downloads, are all VERY helpful to the show. You may not see the measure unless you go looking for it deliberately, but you’re still helping out even if it feels a bit late to. You’re ALSO helping out if you watch the show AGAIN through a different method. So, you see it on the TV? Go watch it on SyFy too! (Pro-Tip. If you DO have the patience to sit through the commercials, do so? They also measure how many times the commercials are watched, to report back to advertisers. So, mute it, wander off, get a drink, use the restroom, but if you can let those commercials run you’re helping. If you can’t, you’re still helping, but you can feel righteous in watching those ridiculous little ads and judging them if you do).
VIEW AND COMMENT ON ALL ARTICLES:
This is going to seem self-serving, because I WRITE some of those articles, but bear with me okay? Online news sites write news based upon what will get them viewers on the site. The reporters are often paid based on the traffic they get, and the site as well. If a topic isn’t drawing readers, it’s not going to keep being written about. I come from the Supernatural fandom, and we’re a loud, contentious, pain in the butt fandom more often than not (I say this with love, and full understanding that I am myself loud and contentious), but boy do we get ink because we voraciously read anything related to the show. Readers = Articles. Articles = Publicity. Publicity = Greater Reach. Greater Reach = More Audience. More Audience = Show Longevity. It’s a continuing chain, and it ultimately depends on you, the fans. When news sites send reporters to something like Dominion at Comic Con, what they’re doing is placing a bet on what will get them some audience — they picked THAT panel over others, they wrote the article, they put it online, and they wait to see if it’s going to get any readership. If it doesn’t, they’re probably going to bet on a different panel next time. It can be a really great thing for the show when we’re active and checking things out, or it can really make something wither away no matter HOW good it is.
(That said, I’m going to write about it either way because I write a lot, and write what I love. But go hit up all those news sites that gave some love to Dominion at ComicCon, and show them some love in return. Link to their articles, spread the word, get other people on there, have discussions in the comments or just leave an attaboy for the writer. You’ll see, it can go far!)
Trending events are different from the live-tweeting of the show. The goal of a trending event isn’t just to help the show’s SocialGuide ranking, as above, it’s to reach a new audience or convey a specific message. You will almost never see the show tag itself trend–that’s because it’s next to impossible to trend a tag that has a regular stream of traffic on it. Twitter’s trends are meant to be like a news ticker: they only capture sudden worldwide, national, state, city surges in traffic on a specific topic, otherwise you’d see common words/phrases/tags that we use every day, in every tweet, popping up as trending all the time. (I expect Twitter’s trending would be “LOL,” #GPOY, #YOLO, celebrity names, etc if they didn’t filter this way). So why do we trend things? Because trending puts the topic in front of the worldwide audience. For the duration of the trend, your chosen tag is in front of people who wouldn’t normally know anything about your show. It can catch interest, raise awareness, and when combined with the show tag all of those people seeing your tagged tweets greatly impacts the Impressions and Unique Audience of SocialGuide. The trick to trending is that you pick an episode-related or campaign-related secondary tag, spread the word on social media (Tumblr posts, Facebook posts) and spread it on Twitter through things like banners/spaced out messages (ex: “Use Tag “RenewDominion” during the event!” – don’t butt the hashtag up against the phrase) in order to make sure that traffic flow isn’t there before the event itself. Then, at a predetermined time (the start of the episode’s first/East Coast airing, usually!), everyone tweets the heck out of that secondary tag. Keep your tweets coming, pair it up with the show tag (ex: “Tom Wisdom’s smile is made of sunshine and roses! #Dominion #RenewDominion”) and go to town. Not sure you’ll be there to help? Set up a queue of tweets for yourself! Set the time, load it up with pictures, images, lyrics, your favorite things about the show, random commentary, whatever it is, and then let it go.
CHECK IN TO WATCH THE SHOW:
Not a TVTag person? Me neither. But I’ll still check in when Dominion is on! Everything like that raises buzz just a bit more, and it feeds into the same cycle above as the news articles.
CREATE! HAVE FUN!
The show can be amazing (and it is), but I pretty loudly advocate for fandoms because fandoms are extraordinary. YOU GUYS are extraordinary. You’re already proving it by being here! So, write fics, make art, be brave and make friends! You’ll be helping the show by building community, by piquing people’s interest, but also you’ll be making the Dominion fandom even more awesome. It’s more important that you go out there and you have fun with it than you do any aggressive campaigning to pull people in–fun can entice people all on its own, and will create a sustainable online community from a bunch of people with obviously excellent taste in TV.
❤ to you all! – ExorcisingEmily