The right way to start a conversation and build anticipation

I don’t like to interrupt a blog series once I have started it, but I am going to make an exception to that rule today. I am going to pause my “Social Revolution” series to talk about a really smart social media tactic that I saw the other day.

On Saturday night, I stumbled upon Comedy Central and was thrilled to see a stand-up special featuring one of my favorite comedians, Kevin Hart. First, I was excited because the man is hilarious. Soon after, I became excited for a better reason. I realized that Kevin Hart had a brand-new stand-up special that was premiering the following night!

Teasing an audience with related content

This is a great lesson for anyone in Marketing, and Comedy Central mastered it. By teasing an audience with similar, relevant content before a premiere, or announcement of some kind, people will get excited.

Imagine if I had not previously been a huge fan of Kevin Hart. I would have seen his show on Saturday by pure chance. Then, assuming I enjoyed what I saw, I would be easily swayed by the commercials advertising the following night’s premiere and convinced to tune in again the next night. The channel would have converted a common television-watcher into one that put Comedy Central on their calendar for the next night.

This tactic doesn’t only apply to television ratings and channels. Think about it from a Public Relations point of view. Say, for example, an organization was soon to launch the next product of a product line. Don’t you think they could build some anticipation for the event by sending an e-mail blast regarding the previous products in the line? And wouldn’t that be a good time and place to inform readers of the product soon to be released?

The specific event or announcement will change, as will the tactic. It could be done through e-mail blasts, social media posts, or countless other avenues… But the principle stands: If the timing is right, people will be excited about the upcoming event and put it on their calendars.

That’s not all Comedy Central did to get me excited about the upcoming Kevin Hart premiere. There was (obviously) a social media tactic used as well. As the channel does with a lot of its programs, it advertised Kevin Hart’s Twitter name, KevinHart4Real, and #CCStandup on the screen during the show.

Seeing this, I searched #CCStandup on Twitter and realized how many people were talking about Kevin Hart at the moment. Trust me, there were a lot! Furthermore, I quickly became one of them.

The hashtag displayed was an instant catalyst to online conversation.

You know who else does great promotion through a hashtag? A popular vlogger among college students, Dom Mazzetti.

In a number of Dom’s videos, he wears shirts with #GetAtMe written on them. I don’t think this example is quite as effective as Comedy Central’s because it’s more generic and used by people not necessarily conversing about Dom’s videos, but the principle is still there.

Promoting a hashtag is a sure-fire way to start a conversation. At least in the Millennial world, we are all social beings… The hashtag is just the call-to-action that we need. By starting a conversation, an organization gains extremely valuable third-party endorsements and online buzz.

What conversations have you been a part of lately? And what made you jump in? Do you think a promoted hashtag is an effective call-to-action for you? I would love to hear your answers!

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