My favorite social media campaign is the #TGIT (Thank God Its Thursday) trend that promotes a group of shows commonly known as Shondaland. These shows air Thursday nights on ABC and were all created by Shonda Rhimes. ABC branded the night of television last fall when How to Get Away With Murder joined the line-up following the success of Rhimes’ previous hits Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. The campaign features posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from all three show’s accounts plus ABC’s and Rhimes’ along with most cast members.
The creation of the campaign came from the branding of Shondaland.
After the three shows were created ABC decided to capitalize on the immense success of Grey’s and Scandal to see if it could be re-created in the third. The reason why I love this campaign is of its effectiveness. The combination of the hashtag, and the use of twitter by the cast engage the audience in two-way communication. This strategy excites the audience and allows for them to voice opinions and have a conversation with everyone involved with the show.
From a personal perspective this campaign drew me into watching these shows. Before it started I had once been a very loyal Grey’s fan and an obsessed fan with Scandal, but was slowly forgetting about each in-between seasons. When the social media campaign started it became impossible for me to forget about the show. It was on my Facebook newsfeed, Twitter timeline, and all over Instagram just from friend’s post. In addition to that #TGIT was often shown in the featured, or trending section for each media outlet. This widespread coverage was what made me start watching the show again, but it was not what kept me around.
The communication that was happening between the stars of the shows and the viewers at home kept me watching. I felt like my feelings and opinions were actually being taken into account and made me a more loyal fan of the Thursday night lineup. The two-way communication is so important when trying to create a lasting and meaningful relationship with audiences and it was something that couldn’t happen with television until social media was created. Social media allows for fans to be happier, TV stations to increase lasting viewership, and for shows to have better brand loyalty.
As media and technology grows in out society it is increasingly harder for new TV shows to create a large audience and have a multi-season run. The completion between shows is fierce and good shows can loose out in the race. ABC used social media in the best way possible with the #TGIT campaign. By creating a relationship with fans the network kept a loyal audience of Grey’s happy, maintained a large fan base for Scandal allowing the show to go into a fifth season, and created a brand new audience for HTGAWM. This social media campaign was effective in three different, but important ways. The campaign was so effective because of the two-way communication which allowed all three shows to create lasting relationships with its audience.