Jeff Probst and CBS get Twitter in a way that very few do.
Image linked from: http://mikesbloggityblog.com
I’m a big Survivor fan. Been watching since my wife (then girlfriend) convinced me to watch the finale of the Australia season (#2). Seen every episode of every season since then, and it never gets old.
That being said, this season (#21 if you’re keeping track) has added a completely new element to the experience of watching this show: Jeff Probst, the long-serving and exceptionally entertaining host of the show, live-Tweets with fans during the show.
For the past few episodes, he’s done this, and it’s added a new layer of insight in to what is the longest running ‘reality show’ in history. Imagine if you could sit on the couch right next to the director of your favourite movie AS you’re watching it. Yeah, it’s THAT cool.
For example, tonight I found out that Jeff gets to keep the torch-snuffers from each season, he accidentally smashed a vote urn during a lighting rehearsal, and that he thinks Ralph telling everyone about the hidden idol was a huge mistake. Now granted, if you’re not a fan you’re probably saying “So what?”. But if you ARE a fan, you know how interesting these little bits of info are. Now you’ll likely start thinking about other shows that you watch, and what little bits of info the host or actors might have that you might find really interesting. See how this adds a new level of entertainment to the whole ‘TV’ experience?
What Jeff Probst and CBS have done is recognize the potential for connecting with their already-loyal fans and making them feel like they’re very nearly part of the show. Which, of course, they are. Without fans a show doesn’t get past the first season. By having a host who clearly loves what he does, and allowing him to connect with the fans of the show while it airs, they’re allowing the ‘Survivor’ experience to be enhanced by having ‘behind-the-scenes’ comments sent out in real-time to everyone who wants to know more about the show. This kind of bonus material is usually reserved for ‘special edition’ DVD’s or two-hour post-season specials. Now you get it instantaneously, and for free.
What this clearly illustrates is the passion that both Jeff and CBS have for the show, which in turn will take already devoted fans and turn them in to raving evangelists. They recognize that by engaging with their fans they increase the amount of entertainment that they can jam in to a TV show’s time slot.
Businesses can learn something from this example. Sure, social media is great at improving your SEO, generating brand awareness, and all those other good things. But what social media is EXCEPTIONAL at is taking an already strong relationship with your biggest fans and making that relationship essentially indestructible. If you give your advocates and enthusiasts more than they expect, they will sing your praises even louder than they already do. Just something to think about.