To promote their shows, many networks are encouraging their stars to actively tweet about their shows, but the success of this strategy is questionable

Twitter use is now actively supported by networks to promote their upcoming and running shows. Networks encourage the use of the social media platform by creating Twitter accounts and asking their stars to tweet about the shows and share pictures.

Twitter DM

Is the strategy really helping?

Along with attracting more fans, networks encourage the use of Twitter to achieve business objectives as well. Getting more fans into Twitter conversations and eventually leading them to watch commercials, help networks to charge higher advertising fees, according to Gary Levin of USA TODAY. The most recent example of the popularity of using Twitter was the more than half a million tweets viewed by 3.7 million people about the red-hot drama Scandal, which airs on ABC.

However, Levin questions the success of the networks’ strategy. Comparing the performance of various shows, Levin says last year’s most-tweeted shows, such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, American Horror Story and Scandal, garnered almost the same size audience as the shows that did not use Twitter as a big part of their promotional campaigns. Around 47% of Scandal’s young-adult audience viewed the show live in 2014, and the percentage was similar to CBS’ Scorpion. For Horror Story, live viewership was 34%, however, for The Walking Dead it was 45%.

According to a Nielsen study in 2013, mostly live TV viewing of sports and awards shows boosts Twitter activity, but the reverse, more tweeting getting more viewership, is not true.

Twitter sees opportunities

However, Twitter is viewing TV networks’ promotional strategy as a big opportunity, as the platform is increasingly becoming a virtual “couch for everyone to sit down together and talk” about shows, says the report, which cites Andrew Adashek, the social media platform’s head of TV. Adashek says stars and producers “are really adopting it as a channel where everyone goes,” adding that fans do follow such tweets. According to Twitter, most of the tweets about shows are from women under 35, and network researchers believe teenage girls and African Americans are the biggest users of the service.

In contrast, research firm Keller Fay Group found that Twitter and Facebook have minimal impact on word-of-mouth chatter about TV shows, according to the report.