Who has the Biggest Voice on social media?

I’ve got a confession to make.

I watch The Voice. I like it. I watched the American version featuring Christina Aguilera and enjoyed that; so I looked forward to the Australian version and have had fun watching the blind auditions. The current live shows? I’m not enjoying those so much …

But I digress.

The point of this blog is to look at the social media program of The Voice.

The Voice is one of a number of TV shows that is using social media to:

  • Listen to audience feedback
  • Promote the show’s brand and products
  • Lift the profile of the show and generate buzz

They’re certainly not the first or the only ones doing this: the ABC’s Q&A has long been displaying the viewing audience’s tweets on screen. The Block is using social media, The Biggest Loser, My Kitchen Rules and other reality TV shows.

The Voice AU on Twitter
The Voice AU on Twitter

But The Voice seems to have spread its tentacles a little further:

  • Each contestant has a Twitter handle and that’s displayed on-screen along with audience voting details
  • Each celebrity judge has a Twitter handle and tweets about the show; sometimes chatting with each other, offering feedback on the performances and occasionally chatting with their Twitter followers
  • Public tweets are displayed on screen
  • It has a few hashtags: not just #thevoiceau, but also for example #teamseal and #teamdelta
  • Social media interactions are strongly encouraged, with the co-host sitting in a room with contestants shown (somewhat awkwardly) reading public comments sent in.

The Voice has also cleverly made all contestant tracks available for download in iTunes. That’s a fantastic move for fans and the brand. I wouldn’t purchase any of the tracks, but years ago as a fan of the first Australian Idol series, I may have purchased a track or two. It makes sense to have them available.

The numbers

I took a snapshot of leading reality TV shows’  Twitter and Facebook fan numbers (as at 16 May 2012):

MasterChef        Twitter 46,021                   Facebook 890,248            (Total 936,269)
The Voice            Twitter 50,366                   Facebook 225,566            (Total 275,932)
The Block             Twitter 5,203                      Facebook 162, 164           (Total 167,367)
Biggest Loser     Twitter 6,263                      Facebook 64,090              (Total 70,353)

MasterChef has the biggest overall numbers and this is not surprising because it’s been screened annually for several years and has a jump start on shows like The Voice. It’s intriguing however, to see that The Voice already has a larger Twitter audience.

The imbalance between Facebook and Twitter audiences (for all shows) is an indicator of where Australians spend their time: more are Facebook users.

This isn’t a complete snapshot of numbers for these TV shows’ social presence.  They have offshoot social media sites, most developed by fans. For example, the Biggest Loser’s Commando coach has more than 17,000 fans on this Commando unofficial Facebook page.

The engagement

How about a quality measure? I’ve appointed myself the judge here, and looked at the nature of the tweets being sent from the TV show accounts …

This morning The Voice Twitter account sent the following tweet “What I love most about #thevoiceau …” aimed at encouraging interaction (and perhaps a tilt at trending). It gained little traction, with only a handful of responses immediately afterward. What does this mean? Perhaps fans only want to interact with The Voice when the show is airing, or immediately after. It’s two days after the live show now, and it would appear fans are disengaged.

This isn’t to say that the tweet was the wrong move. I would think The Voice wants to encourage week-long engagement and that was a good experiment to undertake. Perhaps questions related to actual contestants would have sparked more conversation, rather than a somewhat blatant “tell me what you love about me”.

The Block sent a similar tweet: “You all seem to love the music on The Block…if you could choose one song to be in an episode what would it be?” and while it had a few more responses, it didn’t gain a lot of traction either.

There’s not a lot of personality in the tweets, but again that might be because they’re sticking to brand (and also staying safe online). While there’s some enthusiasm and warmth (and a lot of exclamation marks!) there’s not much fun, ribbing or probing of fan feedback. Most tweets revolve around recounting what’s happened in the show, asking the audience what they think, and occasional interaction with an audience individual.

(By the way, MasterChef community manager: you need to update the Facebook bio, which reads “It all begins Sunday May 6”.)

Of course, the social media interactions for these brands are just the tip of the iceberg. Their official websites no doubt gain massive online traffic, and these sites have their own online communities. It’s important to have these, to cater to non-social media audiences and also have some more ‘control’ and ownership of your brand online.

In a future post, I’ll be exploring tweeting while watching television. I touched on this last year in Twitter Encourages Live TV Viewing.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Interestingly, I was just thinking the other night that I rarely ‘just watch TV anymore’. It becomes an interactive experience – I grab my phone, cuppa and settle in and expect that my eyes will dart back and forth from telly screen to Twitter screen. To those around me, it looks like I’m not really engaged in the TV program but actually, I’m more engaged than ever. I’m slightly perturbed, yet excited at this change in times.

    1. Prakky says:

      I’m the same: but only with reality TV shows. I like to read tweets at the same time. With drama, I don’t usually watch live, but if I do, I only check tweets during the commercials.

  2. Time zones? says:

    How does this work with the time differences within Australia? Do people in Adelaide (and Perth) just not get to join in live or do they just discuss it amongst themselves and others in their same time zone?

    I say this as assume The Voice is on at (say) 7:30pm no matter where you are (or is it on at 7:30pm eastern and 7pm central?)… I know it’s true of some shows as I’ve been told off for not having spoiler alerts for my FB comments by friends in different time zones to me!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for the question Julia. What I’ve noticed is that fans tend to tweet about it in their time zone and it works out okay: you do need to take care when reading too many tweets however, because you can see spoilers. (Well, some people would call them ‘spoilers’, others might call them ‘previews’ or heads up!)

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