NBC’s The Voice has been a TV fan favorite for a long time, and it’s innovative utilization of social media throughout its history has made it a huge social engager. In 2011, The Voice’s biggest success was its ability to engage fans through Twitter. Although it may seem like old news now, the inclusion of Twitter into the very core of the show was a huge step in the social direction. Tweets are shown on the live broadcasts, and this is used to empower viewers and give them a feeling of direct involvement with the fate of the performers.
During Tuesday night’s episode viewers were given five minutes to vote for their favorite of the bottom three artists to continue on into the Top 10. While nine contestants were saved by fans’ votes in the previous evening, the tenth contestant is saved via a live tweeting save. The hashtag #VoiceSave was used followed by the name of the singer. Viewers could watch the popularity of the hashtags #VoiceSaveTJ, #VoiceSaveDani, and #VoiceSaveTess fluctuate throughout commercial breaks. Unsurprisingly, Tess won the hearts of viewers, and she will again be performing in next week’s live shows, but looking at The Voice’s social engagement brings us to the big picture.
It is not uncommon to see shows rely heavily on second screen viewer engagement. Yet this week, The Voice went social beyond just voting, and invited viewers to a Voice Tailgate. While Americans usually associate tailgates with hotdogs and beer, the social tailgate has an entirely different meaning. Using the hashtag #VoiceTailgate, “hungry fans” were given a taste of behind the scenes social content in place of hotdogs. While actual tailgate recipes are included with this event, the main goal was clearly to further engage and bring together fans via multiple social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Involved audiences had access to behind-the-scenes content and potential on-screen mentions by Carson Daly.
What does this mean for The Voice and social media? These campaigns are booming with success and bringing a whole new world to Social TV. The Voice has consistently been an innovative leader in social TV, and its results have been astounding. Looking to the future, fans can be a part of the making of The Voice through many different avenues, and the excitement and benefit surrounding this socialization of TV may only be a precursor of what’s to come in the world of social TV, highlighting the unique attributes of the intersection of television and social media.