ABC’s Scandal (@ScandalABC) returned to series-record ratings for the October 3 season three premiere episode — pulling in 10.5 million viewers.
And the records did not stop with TV viewers, as according to Social Guide, fans tweeted more than 700,000 times (generating 36.4 million impressions) about the episode, up a whopping 24% over any previous Scandal episode, and topping the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings (NTTR) for the week.
But as always with Scandal, the huge number of Tweets did not just happen organically, as the network-run show account (@ScandalABC) took an aggressive, multi-pronged strategy to amass and rally fans on Twitter using specific hashtags, and then drive them to the live airing.
The first strategy was using existing fans (or #gladiators, the term Scandal devotees have adopted from the show for themselves) to drive new ones to the show via Twitter. Using the hashtag #ScandalRecruitment, the show account launched a month-long campaign in August, giving existing fans “30 reasons” with which to recruit new fans.
August is #ScandalRecruitment Month! Retweet, tag your friends & get them excited for #Scandal Thursdays this fall. pic.twitter.com/kvb9Imq4J9— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) August 2, 2013
The account pushed reasons to follow such as behind the scenes photos:
#ScandalRecruitment #13: Our cast & crew love to share BTS photos! Follow them on Twitter! http://t.co/90AbKhpa2L pic.twitter.com/A4hV6EYJAW— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) August 16, 2013
It also used Tweets from other celebs to show potential fans they would be in good company:
#ScandalRecruitment Month Reason 4: You never know who will be tweeting with us… pic.twitter.com/RPKFoescam— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) August 5, 2013
@ScandalABC also pushed specific hashtags as part of the campaign, such as this one that garnered more than 10,000 Tweets in one day:
#ScandalRecruitment Reason 19: We ask our fans to do something and they #HandleIt. Over 10k tweets today! pic.twitter.com/qAKSm80QJ9— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) August 20, 2013
In September, the show turned to Twitter to organize simultaneous viewing of specific taped reruns from the previous season, promoting a schedule and the hashtag #ScandalRewatch to encourage fans to watch at the same time — whether on DVD or other places like Netflix.
Who’s up for a #ScandalRewatch party? Here’s a guide that will get you caught up before the return on 10/3! pic.twitter.com/afhgPcGQSR— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) September 3, 2013
The account also used teasers to promote specific airings.
Are you ready for #ScandalRewatch tonight? #SevenFiftyTwo is the 2nd ep. We’re gonna need a bigger bottle. pic.twitter.com/aKEKCMVBse— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) September 25, 2013
The Final Days
Leading up to the October season three premiere, the show began tweeting using the #ScandalisBack hashtag to build anticipation for the first episode, pushing fans to RT to spread the word.
In just 3 days…#Scandalisback! Tune in on Thursday at 10|9c on ABC. pic.twitter.com/7EXbx3x3gj— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) September 30, 2013
@ScandalABC turned to promoting the cast’s live-tweeting (using the familiar #AskScandal hashtag) during the season three premiere:
Live Tweet with the cast of @ScandalABC by using #AskScandal during tomorrow’s season premiere at 10|9c on ABC. pic.twitter.com/0TMRPpOuCa— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) October 2, 2013
The show also used a flock to unlock strategy — in which they would release a portion of the script if enough fans RT’d a certain Tweet.
Retweet 1,000 times if you want to see this line from the script of the #Scandal premiere presented by @MBUSA pic.twitter.com/ul4Hirzpeo— ABC’s Scandal ( @ScandalABC) October 2, 2013
After all that anticipation the premiere did not disappoint, as the cast live-tweeted with the fans as they poured over every detail of the show. @KerryWashington is an accomplished live-tweeter and this Tweet was the most-mentioned of the night in an evening which saw her tweeting quotes and moments.
Are we #gladiators or are we b*tches?!?!?!? #Scandal— kerry washington ( @kerrywashington) October 4, 2013
And when it was over, she thanked the fans she had interacted with all night:
WE HAVE THE BEST FANS EVER! #GladiatorsROAR WE LOVE YOU! Without you, we don’t have a show! So, once again - THANK YOU! Season 3 has BEGUN!— kerry washington ( @kerrywashington) October 4, 2013
And there was a payoff; she gained over 16,000 followers in one night.
And thanks to the proactive strategy, the show account continues to gain followers.
Have you seen other innovative uses of Twitter? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.