Something magical happens when you watch The Voice; sometimes.
It’s the playful interaction between the judges, sometimes it’s the passion and professionalism of the artists competing, and sometimes, it’s just the “wow” factor you get when you see an artist reach higher than they thought they could with their talent. Whatever it is that drives you to watch The Voice every week – every live show, every mentor session – you know that it’s different from those “other” talent search competitions.
One of those differences is that The Voice gives you the opportunity to interact with the judges, and a recent episode gave the audience the ability to do so live. In addition to the many ways Voice viewers can vote to keep their favorite singers on the show – by phone, text message, Facebook, downloading their songs on iTunes, and via apps – this season saw the advent of a whole new way to save a contestant. The newest method is via the Instant Save on Twitter.
How it works is this: On the night of the live Top 10 show, those artists who are considered in the Bottom 3 – in other words, they didn’t garner enough votes via the standard 4 methods to guarantee their place in the final competitions – are kept in suspense for 5 minutes while America votes via Twitter. In those five minutes, Twitter users vote nationwide to determine the fate of one of the Bottom 3 contestants by Tweeting #voicesave plus the first name of the preferred artist.
Re-tweeting is allowed, but votes would only count once per Twitter account. Whoever gets the most #voicesave votes is kept on the show for another week. According to ratings authority Nielsen, in those 5 minutes, The Voice was the subject of 595,000 tweets. Tweeting and The Voice are not a new phenomenon.
Since the show first aired in 2011, the judges on the show have been sending tweets to their audience regarding its votes. Sometimes they’re funny (see anything @BlakeShelton posts), and sometimes they reveal the judges’ frustration (see @CeeLoGreen) when their contestants don’t advance. Audience participation has reached a new level with the partnership between The Voice and Twitter, and not just from a voting perspective.
Many times, Twitter messages from viewers will scroll across the screen during the show, exhibiting support for a viewer’s favorite artist. A really cool addition to the show’s website is an accumulation of the tweets and social media interactions of the remaining contestants, as well as a United States map that pinpoints the locations from where tweets with The Voice hashtags originate.
When this season began with the Blind Auditions, after contestants chose their coach, a tweeted message from the respective coach would explain why they were excited/happy/confident about the contestant they won over (or who won them over). When a judge with a Twitter following of 22 million, like last season’s judge, Shakira, makes a reference to the TV show she’s currently working on via Twitter that amounts to a lot of viewers – and voters – for the show. Paired with the Twitter followers of all of the other judges, that’s a huge audience. And a huge amount of participation in a live broadcast – all while sitting at home with your smartphone or laptop.
Although the Twitter #voicesave campaign was hugely successful in its first attempt, The Voice has a strong presence on Facebook, as well. With a fan page updated with content from the show and judges, plus a separate page maintained just for voting during designated times, it’s clear the creators and producers of the show know how to keep it thriving with an American public who loves social media.
As any marketing manager will tell you, having a social media presence is essential for building and maintaining a following or a business in the 21st century. And who knows what social media innovations The Voice will surprise us with next?