Tag Archives: Bravo

Bravo, NBC, Washington Post make Twitter accessible to all with aggregators

Even with all of the positive Twitter hype over the past few years, the social networking site still harbors a bad rap among non-users. People ask themselves time and time again the same questions: Why do people care if I just went for a run? Why should I announce to the world I had pasta for dinner? Why should I tell all my followers what I did every waking second of every day? Although this is not the sole focus of Twitter, that is what many non-believers point to when supporting their negatively charged arguments. It is sometimes very difficult for them to justify being apart of the Twitter community.

As much as I can personally advocate the merits of Twitter, some people will just never listen. However, when reputable businesses start using Twitter to produce and manage their own content, people start to pay attention. Twitter then becomes less of a nuisance and more of a necessary tool, even for those who don’t already use it. Yes, everyone now has a Twitter feed where they re-post content from their website, but what about repositioning other users’ content in order to tell your own story? Many highly regarded groups have begun building their own tailored Twitter aggregators, and through their usability and necessity, successfully diminished negative connotations Twitter has created.

Bravo Television’s Real Housewives of New York City Viewing Party

Bravo has always been a pioneer in terms of merging television with the interactive online world (insert shameless plug for a past post of mine on Bravo’s blogs). Adding to their most recent partnership with foursquare, Bravo built their own Twitter aggregator to host “Real Housewives of New York City” virtual viewing parties. Every week, Bravo encourages viewers to join a live online chat on Bravo.com where they can connect with the shows’ stars and fans alike to talk about what is happening on the show in real-time. Through Twitter and Facebook, users can post their own thoughts about the show, and have them appear on the virtual party page. The aggregator allows you to filter through the posts based on “Bravolebrities” only, Twitter only, Facebook only, or all posts simultaneously.

This Twitter aggregator furthers diminishes the gap between the real world and the online world. It allows viewers to gather in one location and celebrate the show, no matter where they are actually located.

The viewing party also allows people to be apart of a Twitter world without actually signing up for an account. If you want to submit a comment, yes you will still need to do so via Twitter or Facebook. However, if you just want to be a fly on the wall at the hippest online party around, the aggregator allows you to read through everyone’s conversations without joining (what some still consider) the taboo Twitter network.

Bravo TV Real Housewives of New York City Viewing Party - Twitter Aggregator

NBC’s Olympic Pulse Tweet Sheet

Bravo is not the only company around to utilize Twitter in this manner. Back in February, NBC provided a comprehensive coverage of the Winter Olympics. In addition to countless hours of television footage on 7 different networks, this exposure included in depth social media endeavors, notably online video cast, an intuitive iPhone app, featured blogs, and of course, a Twitter aggregator.

This Twitter aggregator allowed the user to sort tweets based on specific athlete/consultant, by sport, by NBC Olympic tweets, or by seeing tweets from all categories at once. Similar to the Bravo viewing party aggregator, this device allowed all web users to follow people on Twitter without actually creating a Twitter account. This raised the accessibility of Twitter, demonstrating its usefulness in seamlessly compiling information from topic-relevant people and sorting them in a user-friendly manner.

NBC Olympics Twitter Aggregator

WashingtonPost.com’s NFL Twitter Aggregator

Though this aggregator was built a few months ago, it still remains active and relevant today, and was the first I had ever seen of its kind. At the beginning of last NFL season, the Washington Post wanted to create one location where users could read tweets from NFL players, and naturally with all the hype around some NFL players’ posts, they created an aggregator.

As the two previous case studies demonstrated, this aggregator allowed site visitors to follow players on Twitter without having to themselves sign up for an account.  It also allowed them to filter based on their favorite team or position, and displayed the athletes’ real names, instead of their Twitter handles.

The Washington Post also designed two other Twitter aggregators: one to follow latest updates on the Ft. Hood shooting, and one to follow the last Virginia election.

Washington Post's NFL Twitter Aggregator

I agree with many of people’s woes on inappropriate use of Twitter, and I too get annoyed with constant monotonous updates. But Twitter has become so much more than that, and this new fad of building aggregators demonstrates this. More and more, companies and organizations are finding their best practices in how to run their own Twitter accounts. However, from what we have seen, the next steps will be to see how well we utilize other people’s content within Twitter – and monetize it.

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The Future of Foursquare and Brand, Business Partnerships

FoursquareAt first glance, Foursquare can be misconstrued as nothing but a simple social media network built for entertainment purposes. The one-line description usually classifies the product as a “game where you check-in at locations and earn badges.” More sophisticated ones explain how users can receive advice on where to eat, what to order, where to find what you’re looking for.

Though these statements are all true, they represent only a fraction of Foursquare’s current capabilities – and its potential for permanently changing the online/offline corporate advertising relationships.

Brand and Business Partnerships

On February 1st, 2010, the trendy network television brand Bravo! TV announced a partnership with Foursquare, the location-based social networking sensation. This alliance would enable Foursquare to highlight locations, or “check-in points,” relevant to Bravo Television shows and stars.

Though this wasn’t the first time Foursquare has worked with a business or brand, it is its first true media collaboration. This endeavors, and the partnerships it has since then put into motion (Zagat, Warner Bros., and HBO), makes this a significant milestone in the expansion of the Foursquare program into mainstream everyday life.

Though these are the only true partnerships Foursquare has produced thus far, they began a system called “Foursquare for Businesses,” launched in September 2009. This enables businesses to list specials for Foursquare users (such as 2 for 1 coffee on your first check-in, free drink for the venue Mayor, free desert for every 10th check-in). Not only do these deals appear when users check-in to the venue in questions, but they also appear when a user checks-in to any venue nearby. This model is an ingenious way to build reliable clientele, and to create new ones. It is also a free service offered by Foursquare (at least for now.)

Foursquare for businesses

Where Twitter is Failing, Foursquare is…

Foursquare has been projected by many social media industry leaders to be the Twitter of 2010. The two internet start-up companies have a similar user-base and measured growth. With their ability for effortless and instant updates, both are extremely pertinent to today’s digital and mobile lifestyle. Just this month, Foursquare reached the 300,000 users benchmark, jumping from the Innovators phase to the Early-adopters.

Where Twitter has yet to flourish is its ability to create revenue (or dare I say, inability to even conceptualize the means of doing so.) This is what sets Foursquare apart. Though their current “Foursquare for Businesses” does not charge companies to list their business or specials, this model holds the ability to seamlessly migrate over to a charging system without causing uproar as Twitter has potential to do.

In their current free listing system, Foursquare is able to build their database of businesses, making the social networking site more relevant to consumers. These businesses will also advertise Foursquare deals on their own, to encourage repeat clientele. Through this circular relationship, Foursquare will also be able to collect pertinent data on their listed businesses and the success of their specials. Unlike Twitter, which has struggled to offer measurable results to justify their ability to charge for accounts, Foursquare can compile data proving success as they continue to grow and explore means of turning a profit.

From “Pay Per Click” to “Pay Per Check-in”

These partnerships with local businesses have the potential to grow to a “Pay Per Check-in” model. Many businesses already use Google AdWords, allowing them to only pay for advertising that yield them coverage. This “Pay Per Click” model allows targeted advertising on small budgets. Foursquare can pioneer a “Pay Per Check-in” model, offering premium accounts to businesses and charging a nominal fee per check-in, or per special awarded. Would a business mind paying a few cents to drive clientele on a more regular basis? I don’t think so, and I think on a broad scale, this could be a lucrative element to Foursquare – and a valuable asset to businesses’ digital brands.

Social Media Success: Blogging by Bravo Television

Mashable recently posted an article by Samir Balwani about 10 of the smartest uses of social media for big brands. In this list were some well-known names and campaigns. In that article, we examine Comcast who offers a reliable source for customer service through Twitter. IPhone owners cringed at BlendTec’s YouTube viral video of their company’s CEO demolishing the coveted iPhone in a blender. And who could forget Burger King’s infamous “Sacrifice” application which prompted Facebook users to trade in 10 virtual friendships for one delectable whopper. Yum.

Balwani certainly highlighted some tasty endeavors in the social media world, but there is one brand’s social media uses in which I am constantly in awe: Bravo Television. In recent years, this media company has incorporated more and more viewer interaction into every show they produce, both on television and online. But what has made them such an intangible force in the social media world?

The real secret behind their success is their extensive collection of various cast members’ blogs. This unparalleled anthology of written work by over 50 current and former Bravo stars has created a database of information for both Bravo fanatics and non-viewers who are seeking information about a certain topic.

The Bravo blogs give the media company an opportunity to increase their own brand’s visibility. For instance, Kenley Collins of Project Runway’s Season 5 critiqued weekly runway challenges on fellow Bravo television series The Fashion Show. NYC Real Housewife and natural food chef Bethenny Frankel provided commentary on the dishes from Top Chef Season 4. Ally Zarin, daughter of Real Housewife Jill Zarin, gave her take on the NYC Prep season ending high school dinner party.

Writing these blogs from the perspective of Bravo stars about other Bravo stars expands the reach of each television show. It creates a spider web effect that swallows up one audience into another, developing a new audience of viewers who are now knowledgeable about more than one show.

This collection of blogs also positions Bravo as an expert in numerous aspects of pop culture. It gives them a foundation off which to build their brand and increase their online following.

In his blog, Brian Malarky of Top Chef Season 3 talks about balancing tasty food and healthy eating. Trace, Jeff’s design intern on Flipping Out, gives his take on the latest fashion disasters in the industry. On a more personal level, Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of OC offers her first-hand advice on parenting and teen pregnancy.

With their blogs, Bravo has created a unique environment where viewers can stay up to speed on what’s going on in their favorite TV series, as well as gain valuable knowledge of pop culture trends from reliable, familiar sources.

This brilliant, one-of-a-kind business model to promote their brand, their shows, and their characters all at once leaves me with just one word in response… bravo.