Managing A Social Community Around TV

Updated January 2020

We love a good chinwag with our community here at the gaff. Let’s face it, we love a good chinwag in general. This extends to the lovely folks over on social media too. That’s why we like to get heavily involved in the action when we sponsor TV shows – the most recent example being The Voice UK.

In 2019, our goal on social media was to create iconic and shareable experiences. Social media, and especially channels like Twitter, naturally lends itself to this. Given how shareable content is on these channels, we strive to ensure our experiences are as positive as possible.

So what’s the opportunity for sponsorships?

Our very first TV sponsorship was The Big Bang Theory on Channel 4 back in 2014. We wanted to do this in a way true to giffgaff – mutual and collaborative. So, our ads showed things blowing up in big bang! And what went bang next was decided on by a Facebook community. It was a very successful and long-remembered ad. 

We knew it was important to continue this community-led approach to all future sponsorships. Between 2015 and 2017, we sponsored approximately 15 shows on E4. We watched the shows alongside fans and tweeted along with the action. The E4 community fully embraced us, using the hashtag #giffgaffE4 whenever they were watching, and the hashtag was even used by the writer of The 100 too. *Fangirl alert*

In 2018, we went even bigger and sponsored ITV’s The Voice UK on Saturday nights. (And then again in 2019 and now once more in 2020.) Whilst The Voice UK was a big, bold risk for us, we knew that we had a winning strategy using social media to continue and develop.

For every sponsorship, we:

·   Connect with communities and fans who watch the show with relevant content

·   Watch the show alongside fans live – reacting and enjoying the action on the night as it airs

Whilst we can sometimes be privy to information ahead of the general public with our sponsorships, we always maintain our ethos of being ‘one of the fans’ when live tweeting. We never appear as if we know more than the fans we’re watching with.

In ‘run by you’ style, we also like to shout about our members or fans of a show in our sponsorship ads. But we’re also careful to never just be doing the same thing every time.

Through 2018 and 2019, we featured fans’ own tweets in our ads. Our community absolutely loved to have their moment of fame. In 2019, we even had gifs of the TV ads on hand so that we can respond to each of these people with their own bespoke gif.

The Voice UK sponsorship 2019

The impact of what we do on social media revolves around the real relationships we build with fans throughout a show run. Fans of one show will start watching another purely because they have seen we’re sponsoring it. Fans of The Voice UK and The Crystal Maze joined us to chat about The Circle in 2019, always nice to have some familiar faces.

There are also moments where we truly realise the impact we’re having. Our community share touching stories about what our regular chats mean to them, and it humbles us every single time.

So, how else did we build on iconic experiences worth sharing for The Voice last year? We took four fans on their own photoshoot. Lynn, seen below, was especially overwhelmed by the experience.

We took two competition winners (and their guests) on an exclusive experience at the filming of the Knockout rounds. They travelled from their inclusive hotel to the studio in a ‘Party Bus’, had an exclusive backstage area to themselves before going in, and then got to enjoy their favourite show from some of the best seats in the house. But we wanted every stage of the journey to be magical for them, so when we posted their prize (a Sony Xperia XZ3), we included a host of other goodies – including sweeties, party canon, a karaoke microphone.

Taking it another step further, in 2020 we’re all about giving people a voice within our sponsorship. Instead of tweets, our sponsorship idents (ads) feature real people talking about why they love The Voice – and why they love giffgaff in our TV Ad too. And, get this, we’re filming it all on refurbished phones!

But why refurbished phones? Refurbished phones are a smart, savvy and sustainable choice, and we want to shout about them as much as we can. 

Also, by filming on a phone, the general public are much more at ease at sharing what’s on their mind. We love how natural it makes our videos.

We’ll continue to chat to folks about The Voice UK on social media, but with our new filming approach we can also encourage our community to share videos with us about why they love The Voice (and giffgaff) – and, who knows, maybe these will make it all the way to TV.

Let’s wrap this essay up. What’s the benefit outcome of talking about sponsorships with a social media community?

·       We’re chatting to hundreds of people throughout each show, helping to forge personal relationships. I once had a One Direction pun-off with a fan for a full 30 minutes, and we still like to check in with the odd Harry Styles quip.

·       During broadcast, a good chunk of online conversations around the show also contain a mention of giffgaff. 

·       Our live tweets and conversations do not use paid spend, but they’re shareable. This approach significantly drives up our reach and brand awareness – without costing us.

·       Positive sentiment! Fans love chatting to us – in fact they’re often starting the conversations.

Cheers for reading, and if you fancy a chat you’ll find me at @lisaboylesmedia.

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