This past weekend (Saturday April 9th to be exact) SONS OF ANARCHY Showrunner Kurt Sutter (@sutterink) wondered aloud how he might go about improving his social media presence in anticipation of the upcoming fourth season premiere of his hit FX Show. Being a self-proclaimed expert in the art of procrastination (Read: Watching TV and surfing Twitter… Oh boy is our Mother proud!), we decided to take it upon ourselves to offer up a few pieces of advice that Mr. Sutter as well as other TV Showrunners may-or-may-not find helpful.
Make it a Habit
In our experience, there are two types of TV Showrunners on Twitter. Those who have cleverly made the most of their time procrastinating from actual writing by incorporating the social media service du jour as a part of their everyday lives and those who simply tweet out on the day their show airs. Our advice: Don’t be the latter. Which is to say, nothing says “Unfollow” faster than the type of TV Showrunner who only pops up online on the day their show airs to remind fans to tune in.
Proud to have just put the finishing touches on that upcoming season finale that fans are already clamoring for? Enthralled by something you just watched on TV or Film? Can’t believe the author of the soon-to-be-hit HBO series just publicly slammed your very own series finale!? Herein lies the magic of Twitter: It offers fans (Read: The army of passionate and vocal viewers who are somewhat responsible for that shiny new Porsche you just drove onto the Lot with) unprecedented access inside the always entertaining mind of their favorite showrunner like never before.
While we’re the first to admit that running a multi-million dollar television show on a weekly basis is a full time job — and we by no means are asking for a continuous 24/7 commentary on your life — a little goes a long way. So even if you don’t have the time to interact with fans like Shawn Ryan (@ shawnryanTV) and his staff have cleverly decided to do post-episode via @thechicagocode, or bait an equally talented Showrunner into a faux Twitter challenge for charity (Again, see Shawn “Social Media Savvy” Ryan’s recent kerfuffle with WHITE COLLAR’s @jeffeastin) nothing engages your audience like a response or two. Or, in the case of the GREY’S ANATOMY’s Shonda Rhimes, who has become somewhat infamous for her fan interactions (@shondarhimes), a response or 30!
A Picture is Worth 140 Words
What’s that you say? Far too busy writing a 14,000 word script to think of a clever thing to say in 140 characters? No problem. Simply grab that STAR TREK-esque communication device in your pocket, head on over to set, and snap a photo of one of those really good looking people who make a living spouting words you have written. Suffice to say, the occasional smile from a star or two is pretty much a guaranteed recipe for a serious bump in followers.
Write a Great Show
Although this last point should probably go without saying, no amount of tweeting or twitpic-ing can match the power that is writing an unbelievably cool show. Don’t believe us, just ask the 116,923 followers and counting who are hanging on @damonlindelof’s every character… despite the fact that the last thing he wrote was almost a year ago (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)