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How Award Ceremonies Have Embraced Social Media in 2013

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February is the most notable month for award ceremonies in film and music on both sides of the Atlantic. The Grammys, BAFTAs and Brit Awards have already taken place and, most famously of all, the 85th Academy Awards or Oscars. You would not necessarily associate the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the film industry with providing social media ideas for brands, but there have been numerous examples of successful community engagement already this award season.

The Grammys took place on 10 February at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. According to social search statistics provided by Twitter to Mashable, over thirteen million Grammy related tweets were posted during the show's broadcast. The collaboration between Frank Ocean, Jay-Z and Kanye West was the most tweeted about performance, generating over 116,000 tweets per minute. Such stellar numbers are obviously linked to the glamour of the ceremony and the star appeal of the performers and presenters. However, when analysing the social media output of the @The GRAMMYs Twitter handle it can also be seen that there was a very effective engagement strategy with 520 tweets either posted or retweeted between the 9th and 12th of February.

The pre-Grammy gala took place on 9 February and the @The GRAMMYs social media agency provided exclusive pictures and interviews of celebrities arriving on the red carpet from their official blogger. This was repeated on the night of the Grammys, and they also retweeted posts from performers describing their pre-show nerves and preparations. Such behind-the-scenes content provided followers with information and images they would not be able to receive anywhere else.

During the live broadcast on the US television network CBS, the #Grammys and the @The GRAMMYs Twitter handle were actively displayed on screen. The awards host LL Cool J also read selected tweets on air, which further amplified the sense of engagement with followers on Twitter. Throughout the ceremony, all award winners and performers were posted as live updates to followers around the world. Retweets from celebrity fans congratulating the relevant winners were also posted throughout the night. Amusingly, Twitter also became a medium for acceptance speeches, as winners posted tweets naming people they had forgotten to thank on stage!

After the Grammys themselves, the complete list of winners were tweeted as well as compilations of the best acceptance speeches and celebrity rewteets. Further calls to action asking followers to tweet their favourite performance maintained the community engagement after the event had finished.

The BAFTAs took place on the same night as the Grammys at London's Royal Opera House. Their Twitter handle posted around half the volume of tweets compared to the Grammys and did not retweet during the ceremony. As with the Grammys, the Twitter handle provided followers with unique behind-the-scenes snippets, as well as spreading their message across different social media outlets.

Before the awards, they asked their followers to tweet pictures of their BAFTA night party pictures to win an official goodie bag. The Twitter handle also provided exclusive pictures of the champagne bar and film stars arriving. In a clever use of Twitter as a social media conduit, the tweets describing the outfits worn by celebrities took followers to live-feed Instagram albums and Pinterest boards.

The timing of the award ceremony presented the @BAFTA Twitter handle with a challenge as the awards were presented two hours before the show was broadcast on BBC television in the UK. Their ingenious solution was to post non-spoiler tweets which announced the winning BAFTA category and then asked the follower to click on a link which would expand the tweet and show a Tumblr picture of the winning film or performer. Once the winners were then broadcast on BBC, a further congratulation tweet with full details of the category and winner was then posted.

Although the BAFTAs and the Grammys adopted subtly different Twitter strategies, they shared a belief that engaging with their followers and providing them with exclusive content was key to successful community management. Award ceremonies provide a glamorous combination of celebrities and prize winners, but rather than just listing the winners in order they have grasped the opportunity to reach out to their audience before, during and after the ceremony.

Such tactics will almost certainly be adopted by the 85th Academy Awards Twitter handle. This highlights how reactive community engagement and allowing followers behind the scenes can be applied by social media agencies to any industry or brand and not just those nights that celebrate talented actors and musicians.