Ten days ago, Jared Padalecki, one of the stars of the CW series Supernatural got a Twitter account. He started it after years of saying he never would and couldn’t even get his own name because of there are so many imposters on Twitter. He settled on @jarpad, announced it at a fan convention, then took a photo of his co-star at the convention as proof that it was really him.
As of this morning, Jarpad has 94,132 followers and they aren’t just sitting idle. Many of them complied with Jared’s wishes to vote for a band he produces in a House of Blues contest, shooting them up to number one.
Then there’s Jared’s co-star Misha Collins. He has 219,000 followers and parlayed his Twitter fame into a charity that raised around $100,000 last year for an orphanage in Haiti.
Oh yes, and The CW is reaping the rewards, too. Their audience is young, mobile and active in social media, so they’ve made it extremely easy to follow any of their celebrity tweeters. They have a full page of one click links to the Twitter accounts of more than 75 of their stars. That’s massive for such a small network. They also have a clever iPhone app that allows you to follow the Tweets of the stars or the fans of a given show so you can Tweet while you watch.
TV and Twitter isn’t just for the young. CBS, which has the oldest demographic of big five networks, has been using Twitter chats to spur on their audience.
George Schweitzer, president of the network’s CBS Marketing Group, told eMarketer;
“Social media has allowed us to have a voice in interactivity, in that we can be part of the conversation while it’s all happening. It’s really shown, yet again, another thing that was supposed to be a negative for our industry has become a huge positive. More people are watching television than ever before, and they’re enjoying and talking about it.”
Schweitzer goes on to say that CBS was very happy with the response to their recent Tweet Week where stars of their shows Tweeted while watching. The “however” is that they can’t directly correlate the success of that event with a rise in ratings. But as we’re always saying here, measuring social media isn’t about the numbers, it’s about brand recognition and buzz.
On June 4, “jarpad” was a trending term on Twitter. You can bet that thousands of people who weren’t Supernatural fans clicked through to see what all the fuss was about. That’s the kind of publicity that the CW can’t afford to buy and they got it totally free thanks to their newly Twitter-obsessed TV star.