Supporting events on Twitter: how Pop TV and Soočenje owned the Slovenian Twitterverse

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Supporting events on Twitter is becoming very popular, and it's a perfect case study of what Twitter can do. After all, this channel allows an additional layer for following things that are going on in real-life, in real-time. Coverage sometimes happens accidentally, if there are enough Twitterers around, but more and more often, it happens as a result of a carefully planned tactic of those behind the event. Only then it can fully work, enabling organizers, participants and observers a totally new type of involvement. Crowdsourcing event support can produce a better overview of what's happening than any well-trained team of journalists can provide, offering an experience that is broad, objective and subjective, interactive. And like using Twitter itself, some know how to do it, and some don't.

My experience

When I tried it out it myself, it was fun and rewarding, In May, Trkaj, Jacuzzy and our neighborhood Savska held a festival Blok Party, which attracted a lot of people. We were there, live-tweeting about it. We've also asked other Twitterers (thanks @loudandwicked!), who attended the festival, to use and amplify the same hashtag #savska, and in the end, more than 10 people tweeted about the event, producing over 50 tweets, most of them with pictures. Which isn't that bad on the Slovenian scale. My friend @jakasibicekaka did something similar, asking Trbovlje town councillors to tweet about a meeting with the #sejaOStrb hashtag, which attracted other people to participate as well (here's his blog post about it, in Slovene). Great results enabled by collaboration of many users.

It can work on a small scale. What about the major league, it should be even better? Let's analyze two nation-wide events that happened this week in Slovenia.

How to do it wrong

The first case mentioned was the Slovenia vs. USA friendly soccer match. At the stadium, the National soccer association (@nzs_si) promoted their Twitter account which does live coverage of matches. Which they did. But that doesn't mean they did the whole Twitter thing right. They forgot about the extremely witty journalist @IEBergant also tweeting about the match. They forgot about me, and they forgot about you and 8 other thousand people watching the game live, probably quite a few geeks included. While NZS used the hashtag #fuzbal (slang for soccer), some used the hashtag #nogomet (soccer), #slovenia, #slovenija, and the mentioned Igor Evgen Bergant used #soccerSI-US. The results: a scattered pool of tweets which didn't really offer users the complete picture. The event went mostly unnoticed on Twitter.


NZS promoting Twitter

The Slovenian soccer association promoting their Twitter account on the match

How to do it right

On the other hand, Pop TV (@24ur), the biggest commercial television network in Slovenia, did it more than right. Their show "Predvolilna soočenja", which does political confrontations before the upcoming elections, won big time. And while using Twitter to support television has been done for ages abroad, this actually happened for the first time in Slovenia (at least so I think). And they did at least three smart things:

  • they've promoted the hashtag #soocenje, not minding about their Twitter profile
  • they've invited five influential Twitterers (@alivea, @had, @Lacn, @madpixel, @tamejhna) to the studio audience to generate the initial buzz on Twitter, besides live-tweeting from the studio. Here they are, appearing with @miharejc, who tweets for @24ur
  • they've broadcasted a selection of tweets with this hashtag live on television, and encouraged people to participate and ask questions on Twitter

The results were amazing. Hundreds, if not thousands of tweets all over place. Local trending topic. They owned the Slovenian Twitterverse like no one else before them. It worked like a charm. You can check out the partial report (which only displays 100 of #soocenje tweets, happening in 5 minutes!) on the following link or use the #soocenje Twitter search, if tweets are still available. Epic stuff, moving the Slovenian media sphere a few years forward.


Twitter on Pop TV's show Predvolilna soočenja

Pop TV displaying and promoting #soocenje tweets live on television


Local Slovenian trending topics on Sitweet

#soocenje (besides various politicians and the show host) became a local trending topic in Slovenia according to sitweet.com

Conclusion

I'm only a level 26 27 social media ninja, but I know a few things. If you're organizing an event, the most important thing is: promote Twitter hashtags, not profiles. Even if they are nothing more than just clickable search queries, they simply work. Search Twitter in real-time and look for people who are talking about the event. Ask them and other people attending to amplify and use the same hashtag. Thank them if they do. Most of them will join you, since it'll make it more interesting for them too. Offer something more if you can (like displaying tweets on a website). Use multiple accounts (official, personal) with different wibes. Upload pictures. Retweet. Interact. Have fun.

Twitter, a funny service proving that a collective effort of many people will always provide a way more interesting picture than a single person can. More objective, more diversified, more everything. Perhaps even better than the original event itself. Real players are fully aware of that. Don't worry, even if you don't have the same power, publicity and followers, you can compensate with additional energy, time and mobile bandwidth. The results can be surprising. And if it does work, I promise you'll enjoy every little bit of it.

UPDATE (22.11.2011): I got contacted by @24ur, who told me this was already their second Soočenje show (I missed the first one - the irony - playing soccer), and the first one generated over 1800 #soocenje tweets. I also got feedback from @nzs_si and @IEBergant, they've agreed we should make a joint effort the next time Slovenia plays soccer, also involving the biggest Slovenian soccer portal Nogomania. Awesome stuff.

UPDATE (25.11.2011): Pop TV is on fire. Today, they've added another medium to support Soočenje on Twitter, their news portal 24ur.com, which is the most visited site in Slovenia.

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Comment
written 20.11.2011 11:13 CET on chronolog
3196 views   •   2 likes   •   4 comments  •   Like   •   
Yes it is. Now I can only hope it won't be forgotten before Feb 29th. :)
commented 24.11.2011 22:58 CET by Stritar
update is awesome!
commented 23.11.2011 23:11 CET by jaka
Thanks Nick. #misijaevrovizija by TV Slo is also very popular on Twitter, but it doesn't seem to be supported, promoted or used in any way by the TV station.
commented 21.11.2011 8:30 CET by Stritar
nice post Stritar, you are absolutely right, the hashtag is the most important factor if you want your message to spread... profiles are irrelevant! Good job PopTV, one of the only media companies in Slovenia that knows what it's doing on Twitter
commented 21.11.2011 1:15 CET by Nick Taylor
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