On the 18th of November, we were invited to the RTS-sponsored event “the Inside Voice”, a panel discussion at the BBC with the social media team behind the family favourite Saturday Night show, the Voice UK.
Muki Kulhan, the Executive Digital Producer of the Voice UK chaired, while Sarah Clay, the BBC Commissioning Editor for iPlayer & Entertainment was on hand to explain how the BBC handles its social media strategies for shows like the Apprentice and Strictly Come Dancing as well as the Voice. David Levin, the founder of ThatLot and chief “Voice Tweeter” treated us to a selection of the most popular collaborations between the social media crew and the Voice Coaches, and Glenn Miller, the Head of Entertainment EMEA at Facebook gave us a taster of how Facebook is a useful tool for shows like the Voice in reaching out to their audiences.
As the self-described “naughty kid sister” of the flagship BBC show, the social media team gave us some insights into their strategies which saw them gain 980,000 new app downloads and 2.6million new Facebook likes in the fourth and latest series. They believe that Second Screen interaction, namely web surfing on your smartphone or tablet while you watch TV, has incited a need for new styles of social media which incite reactions from its audience, creating audience participation and discussion about the show and community shared content. When the show is off the air, the social media is still relevant. News stories about the music industry (like the BRIT awards), news about the coaches and contestants, new albums and singles, these are all things the Voice social team keep discussing in order to keep the Voice in the viewers’ social feeds.
The Home Coach app was the first BBC branded app, which included games to predict the coaches decisions, and an onscreen coach’s chair with the player’s name on to make decisions as a coach. This audience interaction lets the viewer feel like they are part of the show’s action. The app also includes a Fantasy League style competition where the player can create their own team within the show, and if the contestants on their team are successful in the show, they gain points within the app.
Whereas 20 years ago we may have signed up for the Spice Girls Fan Club (or whoever you were into in those days…) nowadays, we follow our favourite artists on Instagram and Twitter to get inside previews into their lives. The Voice team uses this fact to their advantage, instead of merely posting formal promotional content. On Instagram they post stills of the show, sharing amusing pictures of behind the scenes action and poking light-hearted fun at the coaches. On Youtube they post clips of the coaches engaging in silly challenges, like getting them to Karaoke to each other’s songs. This tongue-in-cheek shareable content is integral to the show, as the coaches and contestants are engaging directly with their fans, it gives the social community of the Voice, to coin a phrase, a voice.