Election season is an exciting time in TV and media and politicians and journalists aren’t the only ones with interesting stories to tell. There’s opportunity to ask the public what’s important, to listen and acknowledge them by having audience feedback included as part of the coverage.
We like to monitor key political hashtags to see what interesting data we can uncover. It’s also made us think about some of the ways our clients have harnessed the power of social content to understand audience opinion.
Gather Audience Opinion With Live Polls
Live voting is a fun and immediate way to amplify the voice of your audience. Social polling lets you track opinions on a large scale and generate powerful content.
Running polls across Twitter, Facebook, 3rd party apps like Apester or PollDaddy, website, email or even SMS, and aggregating the results together is effective for reaching a variety of audiences.
We ran a live poll during the Brexit vote and found that from half a million Tweets around certain keywords, the mentions for voteleave/leave and voteremain/remain represented the actual referendum result. It just shows that social conversation gives a pretty accurate indication of the population’s opinion.
Election Night Interaction
Election night is always a flurry of activity with viewers, politicians and public figures sharing a magnitude of content. During the UK general election, social media went into meltdown after the exit poll was released and Sky News were quick to share people’s reactions to the show. The presenter used a large touchscreen to interact with user-generated-content as well as statistics and social data.
Encourage Viewers To Have Their Say
Inviting viewers to take part in a program’s political conversation is powerful for generating engagement around a show. It helps to identify what topics the audience really care about and brings more voices to a debate.
CBC News regularly ask viewers to share their views using social media and included live comments from Facebook, Twitter and email in their daily talkshow, debates and interviews.
Understand The Stories Behind The News
We monitored the social activity on the day of the Brexit vote which gave us an understanding of key political opinions. Amongst the usual political conversation one would expect, we discovered that that #DogsAtPollingStations was trending on Twitter. We then gathered posts for this hashtag and found that thousands of people were sharing adorable photos of their dogs waiting patiently outside polling stations across the UK.
Include Social Video
Viewers can become community journalists by sharing videos or vox pops on social media. These social videos can be integrated into the broadcast and are a great way to add different perspectives and viewpoints to a program.
WBTV promoted a local fundraiser by creating a 15 second ‘Breaking News Update’ to feature social video reports from event attendees.
Analyse Social Conversation
The huge political conversation on social media gives us an interesting insight into opinion, patterns and voter behaviour on a large scale.
never.no's CTO Taco Nieuwenhuis used STORY to track social dialogues and sentiments during the last UK election. This gave interesting insights in the driving forces behind the changes in the political landscape, and hidden patterns around party loyalty and candidate mentioning.
Include Social Commentary in Political Segments
Including social commentary in political question time or debates is an effective way to seamlessly provide contextual content and reactions. Sky News UK integrated live social commentary from experts during key political moments.
Understand Sentiment With Facebook Reactions
never.no’s platform makes it possible to monitor and count audience reactions to Facebook content. This helps in understanding the sentiments (like, love, haha, wow, sad, angry) that surrounds specific Facebook posts (on particular political topics) by interpreting the data as a real-time poll. And similar to all social data, it’s easy to publish these live results to broadcast graphics or digital environments.
Social Q&A segments provide an exciting opportunity to have your audience influence the editorial and ask questions that are important to them. Viewers can submit their questions live via Facebook, Twitter or an app, and have them displayed on air or read out by hosts. It’s a great way for audiences to interact with guests such as politicians or political journalists.
While sports related rather than political, the work Mammoth Graphics did with ITV around Tour de France is a great example of how live Q&As with experts can drive engagement.
Social formats such as lower third tickers, side panels with photos or videos from the audience, or dynamic polls can easily be included in live streams as well as traditional TV broadcast.
Similarly, audience feedback can be aggregated from Facebook, Twitter, messenger apps, Instagram, Facebook Live streams, YouTube Videos/Live Streams, email, SMS, etc.
never.no’s HTML5 graphics solution provides an extra layer of flexibility to traditional TV broadcasters, as well as enabling those who use streaming services such as Facebook Live, Twitch or YouTube to benefit from integrating live engagement from their audience into their broadcasts.
These are just a few examples of how networks are engaging viewers during the important election period. Do you have ideas for your own political coverage? You know where to find us.
By Jenna Rogers
Jenna is never.no's Business Development Manager for APAC. Based in Australia, after having previously worked with our teams in Norway and the UK, Jenna is helping broadcasters in the region with their audience engagement strategies. Get in touch.