My dad was proud of his new “Internet-smart” TV and wanted to show it off to me on St. Patrick’s Day weekend last month. He showed me how he could log onto Facebook and view photos, update his status, etc.
As he was showing me, all I could think was, “Would anyone really use this?” Judging by the time it took him to navigate to my profile, I concluded that surfing social media sites through a TV isn’t ideal. But, he was excited because he could log into Facebook from his TV — not because he necessarily wanted to.
This got me thinking: does social media need to be everywhere? Perhaps there should be some parameters for integrating social media into products and services.
Just like with social media account creation, companies are adding social media integration to everything just because. Social media should only be implemented when it is part of a well-thought-out plan that ties into what a user is already doing (e.g., maybe my dad would like it if he could share that he’s currently watching The Mentalist on Facebook so he and his friends could talk about it). Without this desire or call-to-action, social media integration is not only useless, but potentially overwhelming to users.
Social Media Has To Be Easy
Typing from your remote is tedious, much like T9 texting from an old-fashioned cell phone. To implement social media or another type of available communication service, technology needs to make it as easy as possible. Maybe my dad’s new TV should have come with a keyboard and mouse. Or, it could have had voice recognition to automatically create status updates or tweets.
Today’s connected generation has a fleeting attention span, and making things as easy as possible will guarantee regular use.
Social Media Has To Be On Their Terms
Nobody likes to be forced to connect their social media accounts with a service, or to only be eligible for an exclusive discount or page access if they tweet about a company on Twitter.
The sole purpose of social media is for users to share what they are doing and what they care about most, and it will backfire if a company believes in forcing users to add or use their social media accounts in order to complete an action.
Social Media Has To Serve A Purpose
The question, “Why does a TV need to tweet?” really has no useful answer; so, the way the TV, Internet and social media profiles work together needs to change. Maybe a user can participate in unique Twitter chats about shows they are watching. Or, they can tweet from their TV for exclusive giveaways. Maybe the TV could update a user’s Twitter account every time they watch an entire TV program. Did the user share on Facebook that they like The Walking Dead? The TV can auto-record the show or remind them when it’s about to come on.
The possibilities for uniting television and social media are endless; but, it will only work if a user feels that it adds to their experience and ability to connect with their social network.
GetGlue is a good example of an app that connects incentives, social media and television. What if my dad’s TV could automatically check him into every show he watched, or let him know when there was an exclusive GetGlue chat about one of the shows he checks into regularly?
Social Media Has To Be Collaborative, Not Promotional
No matter the technology or the methods of implementing a user’s social media profile, companies should never try to promote its products and usage without user consent. Instead, companies should focus on offering the best platform possible in order give users a way to share what they want to share, instead of being backed into a corner by gadgets asking them to tweet where they are or what they are doing next.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.