How to Capitalize on the Awards Season with Social

Sarah Steimer
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Key Takeaways

What? Award shows draw large audiences who engage on social media.

So what? Brands can harness the interest in these live events by communicating on their social media platforms.

Now what? Use awards show hashtags, memes and other appropriate social network fodder to engage with what’s relevant to the interests of your brand’s demographic, and how they relate to the award show.

​Jan. 19, 2017

We’re in the belly of awards season. 

Theaters are playing some of the most critically acclaimed movies and fashion bloggers are churning out content on who is wearing whom. Marketers have an opportunity to join the voices chirping about movies, television and music, and they only need to roll out the social media red carpet.

“Live events are always a great opportunity for brands to show their human side and create real-time engagement with some character,” says Cory Hartlen, Sprinklr product marketing.

The audience for these events are enormous. In 2016, about 24.95 million people watched the Grammys, 34.4 million people watched the Academy Awards, 11.3 million people watched the Emmys and 18.5 million people watched the Golden Globes. These viewership rates can also translate to high social media engagement, as a Nielsen report from 2014 found 84% of smartphone and tablet owners say they use their devices as second screens while watching TV at the same time. For example, the 2016 Golden Globes garnered 1.4 million total tweets, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence, along with 34 million social interactions on Instagram, according to Deadline.

Hartlen says the key to using Twitter, Facebook or any other social media network during awards season is leveraging the event hashtag, which is usually as simple as the name of the show (#goldenglobes, #oscars, etc.). The trending terms on Twitter are usually a good place to start to see what hashtags people are using most in relation to the awards shows. Official Twitter accounts for the awards shows are also a good lead.

Once the correct hashtag has been nailed down, Hartlen says it’s important to ensure your posts are relevant to the interests of your company’s core demographics.

“If fashion is big with your community, engage around who wore it best on the red carpet, or poll your community on who’s going to win a certain award,” Hartlen suggests. “If comedy is more your community’s tone, craft lines the host should have said. Find a way to differentiate yourself, look at what your competitors did last year—who got praise, who got dissed. Learn from past events to carve your path forward in 2017.”

One example of a brand who nailed an awards show post on social was Arby’s in 2014. The brand tweeted at Pharrell Williams during the Grammy’s, asking for their hat back.

Each award show results in a bounty of new gifs and memes, created and popularized within moments of the live broadcast. Hartlen tells brands to listen to their community; if they’re doing it, then it can be worth playing along. “Live engagement is about joining your community around an event you might have no stake in, and it can reduce the pressure and give your community/social team a chance to bring out their fun side and let their virtual hair down,” he says.

Of course, social media can be a breeding ground for trolls, and Hartlen cautions against giving them fodder. “No one wants to wake up the PR team on a school night because you couldn't take the high road,” he says.

In general, Hartlen says engaging with the audience as it relates to awards shows is a chance for the brand to show its true character. Leading up to the event, brands should research the host and nominees and use technology that helps streamline social conversations. This type of engagement, he says, keeps your brand top-of-mind with consumers.

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Author Bio:

Sarah Steimer
Sarah Steimer is a staff writer for the AMA's magazines and e-newsletters. She may be reached at or on Twitter at @sarah_steimer.
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