Behind the scenes with 'The Voice' and its social media strategy

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

Last year we wrote about NBC’s “The Voice” and how they created the new gold standard for social TV production. We spoke with Andrew Adashek, the digital producer from Mark Burnett Productions (who now works for Twitter Media), about the impressive ways NBC and his team united to incorporate social into every part of the show. For season two, (the finale airs tonight) the team behind The Voice would have to find new ways to innovate and continue to provide outlets for the dedicated fans of the show.


(Coach Blake Shelton typing out a tweet, and social media correspondent Christina Milian.)

NBC worked with Invoke Media (the company that created HootSuite) to power their social TV strategies via “The 5th Coach Game,” which enabled fans to create a virtual team (if you don’t already know the show focuses around four celebrity coaches who help decide the best new Voice). The experience included exclusive content, weekly prizes and more. We spoke with Dana Robinson, Senior Director of Social Media at NBC.com and Dario Meli, co-CEO at Invoke Media (and a HootSuite cofounder).

Lost Remote: What did NBC do to up their social TV strategy for season two?

Dana Robinson: In Season 1 we were trail blazers in the social TV space. So in Season 2, we wanted to not only bring back all of the successful elements of the first season, but add some additional things to up the ante in terms of fan engagement. The contestant profiles (blogs, Facebook fan pages, Twitter profiles, photos, videos) returned, as did our weekly live tweets with the coaches and from the official account. But we also added a live streaming post show, enhanced Facebook voting, the 5th Coach game, the Loudest Fan, Pinterest boards and an Instagram account. And let’s not forget our favorite feline Purrfect, who now has over 55,000 Twitter followers at @PurrfectTheCat.

LR: Who touches the social TV strategy, NBC, Mark Burnett productions? Both? How?

Robinson: Like all good partnerships, our social TV strategy is created and executed by teams of people from both NBC and Mark Burnett productions and based on the original Talpa format.

LR: What new partners did you work with this year?

Robinson: We worked with Facebook and Twitter a lot in both seasons, but in Season 2 we really took our Facebook engagement to the next level with the 5th Coach game and the voting application.

LR: What’s in store for next season?

Robinson: We’ll do what we did this season…we’ll bring back everything that was successful, fine tune it, and then add some new elements to the mix to keep our fans interested and highly engaged.

LR: How does the NBC Voice app work?

Dario Meli: The app mirrors the game play of the TV show as much as possible, empowering users to act as the 5th Coach. The ultimate goal of the app is to successfully pick the artist who is most likely to become The Voice. As acting 5th Coach, the user is responsible for carefully picking a team of 12 artists and then backing their top conteders as they progress through the knock out phases of the show. Along the way, users are encouraged to recruit advisors (other FB friends) for help on making their picks. Users are also able to access exclusive content when unlocking certain achievements within the game.

LR: How does it make the show more social?

Meli: Fans of the TV show aren’t just watching the show by themselves anymore. They are on Twitter, they are on Facebook, cheering for and even voting for their favorites. The 5th Coach app helps fans play the role of one of the coaches, putting them behind the turnaround chairs. The app keeps fans engaged by putting them up against their friends picks, and calling on their friends for advice on who to choose. By existing on the worlds most popular social platform (Facebook) the app is integrated socially.

LR: How is it different from their Facebook efforts from season one?

Meli: Season 1 was a big success from a social media standpoint, but it primarily focussed on Twitter engagement. Social mentions on Facebook had validated the market so this time round the client wanted to step up their efforts on the Facebook platform. For season 2, the TV show promoted the social profiles more (social lounge), and from there the social channels were sent into overdrive, to include customized Facebook apps such as the 5th coach.

LR: What other TV clients does Invoke work with?

Meli: Currently working with: NBC, Viacom, Food Network. We worked with ESPN, Vh1, MSNBC, History Channel in the past.