Last night, the Emmy awards recognized excellence in TV content. Today, we recognize excellence (and not-so-excellence) in social media from the Emmys.
There are valuable takeaways here for marketers in any business. Let’s take a look at what we learned!
1. Authenticity is important
One of the most talked about aspects of the event was the appointment of Criminal Minds star Shemar Moore as the Emmys social media ambassador. Moore’s role appeared to draw universal ire from the social media crowds.
Why? Because his social contributions were pre-crafted Tweets with his picture and rote captions. The way he delivered his “off-the-cuff” banter on television was clearly read off of a teleprompter. It was clear that there wasn’t any improvisation to it, and the masses responded. Emmy watchers wanted a social media ambassador who was more social.
— Shemar Moore (@shemarmoore) September 23, 2013
Someone please go help Shemar Moore. Pay the ransom.
— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) September 23, 2013
2. Social media isn’t predictive
Forbes ran a piece last week using social media to predict the winners of the Emmys. Here’s how the social media-sphere performed:
Best actress: Vera Farmiga (predicted) Claire Danes (winner)
Best actor: Bryan Cranston (predicted) Jeff Daniels (winner)
Best drama: Game of Thrones (predicted) Breaking Bad (winner)
Best comedy: Big Bang Theory (predicted) Modern Family (winner)
Best supporting actor: Aaron Paul (predicted) Bobby Cannavale (winner)
Best supporting actor: Anna Gunn (predicted) Anna Gunn (winner)
They got one prediction right. It’s an important lesson that social media plurality is fallible. Incidentally, there are many studies that show this as well.
3. There’s a fine line between exclusivity, alienation and just plain weird
If you watched the beginning sequence of the Emmy’s, you saw a mildly comical skit with many past Emmy hosts lamenting their experiences with host Neil Patrick Harris.
You might have been confused when the camera panned to Kevin Spacey and in a Southern accent watched him break the “fourth wall,” unless you’ve seen his Netflix show “House of Cards” and understood that his character regularly does this (and is a Southern Senator, explaining his accent). This is kind of a clever in-joke until you realize that far more people watch the Emmys than have ever seen House of Cards. Many viewers were likely perplexed.
Further perplexing was a choreographed bit featuring dance numbers inspired by drama nominees like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and American Horror Story. It was “high concept,” by which I mean more than a little strange.
The lesson for content creation is to keep the big picture in mind when planning what content to devote resources to. There’s a reason that Andy Warhol’s art and Lady Gaga’s art films aren’t embraced by the general public… they’re inaccessible for most people. Same goes for interpretive dances about high school teachers turned methamphetamine dealers.
4. Be visual!
I watched the Emmys because my wife and mother-in-law wanted to watch it (and it was conveniently on after the Seattle Seahawks game). They don’t watch the show for the awards, they watch for the fashion and the glamour of the celebrities. The celebrities understand this well.
Although Shemar Moore was criticized as a social media ambassador, nearly every other star got a pass for selfies and social media pictures. The spectacle of the show was enhanced by celebrity Twitter and Instagram pics, reinforcing the lessons of Facebook and Pinterest: visual content generates a ton of interest.
5. Don’t ignore social care
Before the Emmys, fans of Breaking Bad were suggesting that the Emmy would be renamed the “Cranston” after Bryan Cranston, the lead actor of the show. So when Jeff Daniels won the Emmy for best actor, you can imagine how disappointed the Cranston fan contingent was.
How the hell does Jeff Daniels win over Bryan Cranston for an Emmy?
— Burnsy (@MinnesotaBurns) September 23, 2013
From there it got worse, including pics of Daniel’s infamous lavatory scene in Dumb and Dumber (click at your own risk).
To my earlier point about social customers not always being right, you can’t simply ignore them because they are wrong.The social media-sphere has a way of leveraging social proof to escalate grievances. If the Emmys could mitigate the pro-Cranston grievances, I’m sure they would.
Fortunately, businesses can and should provide social customer care to their customers. No matter how inaccurate their concerns may be, hopefully you can keep them from escalating to a picture of a man on a toilet. But if they can’t, make sure your social media ambassador is well-equipped to deal with their problems.
Image: scottfidd (Creative Commons)