What a time to be alive.
Tweeting about TV shows is not only a socially acceptable way to spend your evenings, it’s also sort of a job. However, unlike real jobs (such as being a nurse or a teacher or Kim Kardashian), “live-tweeting” doesn’t have an established set of rules or guidelines, which makes it pretty hard to master. So, as one of the few people available regularly enough after 7pm to have been hired to tweet about lots of TV shows, here are my top tactical tremendous telly tweeting tips. Totes.
Never say ‘totes’ or ‘bae’ or ‘sick’
Unless you happen to be 17. My tip is: yes, you need to connect with the relevant audience, but if you’re tweeting about a TV show that young people watch, don’t try to talk like them. Would you want your dad quoting Stormzy lyrics in front of your mates? Exactly.
Make silly images
— The Apprentice (@bbcapprentice) November 26, 2014
If you get to watch the TV show in advance, your main job is to find the moments that everyone will be talking about and make shareable content out of them. If you have basic photoshop skills or access to a designer who’s not playing Mario Kart, the easiest win is images.
Keep it short
If people are reading your tweets at the same time as watching a TV show, they haven’t got time to read 140 characters! Imagine you’re writing a headline about what just happened on telly.
— BBC The Voice UK (@BBCTheVoiceUK) February 7, 2015
Live-tweeting isn’t just about pumping endless social gold to all your followers, it’s also about responding brilliantly to individuals tweeting about the show. And if your main concern is maximum engagement, you cynical rotting pear of a human, search for big and/or verified accounts using the show hashtag and focus your banter-bazooka at them. If they retweet you, that can get you more engagement than a killer outbound tweet. Sorry for saying ‘banter-bazooka’.
If the TV show in question has a rich history, use it. If you can make people go: “OMG yes, I remember that!” with your tweet, you’re onto a winner.
Use live video
With the arrival of Periscope on Twitter and Facebook Live on Facebook, the door has been opened for a new level of behind-the-scenes social content. As soon as this year’s final on The Voice said goodnight on BBC One, we gave Marvin Humes a selfie-stick and went live onto Twitter then Facebook. It was basically The Xtra Factor (or one of those ‘switchover’ shows), except it was on social media, it was exciting and people actually watched in. OOH SHADE!
PRACTICAL JOKE IDEA: All dress in ape costumes for when Tim Peake gets back.
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) June 17, 2016
As well as talking about your particular TV show, dip your toe into other big conversations and trends and put your own spin on it. If you can make people go: “Lol, that is quite funny!" and "Ooh, I forgot The Apprentice is on tonight…” you’re on to a winner.
Don’t just talk to the super fans
If there’s a golden nugget in the TV show, post it in a way which will appeal to people who don’t give a monkeys about the show as well as the die-hard fans, to help your content, and your account, to travel further.
Don’t over tweet
All killers, no fillers. Don’t bore us, skip to the chorus. If it’s not a guaranteed winner, put it in the bin(ner). To quote Ronan Tweeting: “you say it best, when you tweet nothing at all.” What I’m trying to say here is leave them wanting more.
David Levin is creative director at That Lot.