Social Media Becoming TV’s Marketing Haven

The marketing promise of social networking is still part of a larger experiment, but many brands are ready, willing an able to invest in the underlying theories. Bravo TV and the Dallas Cowboys have both announced major social media initiatives to further their reach and brand affiliation across the web. Bravo TV is having a virtual viewing party for the season finale of Top Chef tonight, while the Dallas Cowboys have ramped up their social media presence with a new Facebook Fan Page, iPhone app and Twitter push, among other things.

The Top Chef viewing party takes place tonight at 10 pm EST, giving fans the opportunity to tap into Facebook and Twitter for updating comments as they view the season finale. There is a mobile push as well, with Facebook Connect mobile updates also pouring into the virtual viewing party’s main site for immediate and live access.

A similar push was done through CNN for several major news stories and events, including the presidential elections. other new portals have taken a more social approach to their distribution and feedback mechanisms, incorporating the public’s opinions on current events taking place. large social portals such as Facebook and Twitter have planted themselves in a position of established leadership for such promotions, as they provide instant access to a wide array of users.

Tools and API offerings from Facebook and Twitter’s platforms have enabled other publishers and sites to tap into the large user bases of these social networks for the purpose of increasing activity around their own content. As social media hubs, the idea of engaging users directly through their platforms while still able to remotely interact with other apps, publications and websites is a major appeal to mainstream consumers.

And it’s been a long time coming. Brands, advertisers and publishers were hesitant in the past to enable so much direct interaction with consumers as the responsibility of portraying a particular brand had been relegated to the brand itself. Giving into the consumer base on a worldwide scale was a forced issue thanks to the broadcasting capabilities of Facebook and Twitter, but brands have warmed quickly to the new democracy the social web has provided.

However, trends towards this kind of open communication between brands and consumers has been in the works for years. Other platforms such as Meebo have provided similar networking tools, primarily focusing around activity that takes place in chat tools. It wasn’t until the standards around Facebook and Twitter’s platforms were established that brands were further forced to find a way to become more comfortable with this type of consumer interaction and access for market research purposes.

This was due in part to user adoption, and cooperation from th brands themselves. The top-down approach provided by Facebook and Twitter gave brands a little bit more control with some of their marketing campaigns, while also keeping a good portion of control in the hands of the consumers.

Just yesterday I discussed the issues behind social media marketing, noting the pitfalls and standing concerns around a brand’s ability to benefit from social media campaigns. I’ll reiterate the experimental status of social media marketing, especially as it pertains to social media platforms’ ability to provide brands with the statistical data needed to continue to invest time, money and effort into online marketing.

Yet the pushes from Bravo and the Dallas Cowboys also highlights the ongoing merging of television and the social web. The Internet and all its glory is still full of uncharted territories, making its appeal in its promise of putting anyone in a leadership position. It’s this promising appeal that keeps us all interested and moving forward, continually increasing its devotion to an ultimate personalization of all media content.

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