This year’s American Idol, season 11 of the popular singing contest, is the first time in the show’s history that I’ve seen a really big push on using Twitter as the main social media engagement channel with each competitor’s Twitter handle being advertised heavily on screen.
But have they got this aspect of social media marketing right? Ratings suggest not; Even with the contestants’ twitter presence this season of Idol is only averaging about 10% more social activity per episode than in season 10 – considering how much social has grown in the past 12 months that’s a pretty dismal number; 10% should have been the bare minimum bump, without contestants’ own twitter presence being so heavily advertised, surely?
Aside from the fact that American Idol is late to the ‘Twitter for marketing’ party the format used for the Twitter accounts is pretty awful :
first name initial+last name+ai11 so for example Elise Testone’s handle is @atestoneai11
Now, although fans are likely to remember it after a few shows the fact is you want to make it as easy as possible from the word ‘go’! Why make the fans do mental gymnastics when all they want to do is tweet about their Idol?
To make matters worse not all the contestants Twitter handles follow this format e.g. @cavanaghai11 for Hollie Cavanagh – hello, where did the ‘h’ go?! Standardization, even the bad kind, is always necessary.
Secondly, why use only the first initial of the first name? Throughout the season the contestants are primarily addressed by their first names by Ryan Seacrest & the judges and their full names are only used when being introduced.
So why this strange format American Idol Social Media team??
Wouldn’t something like
@Idol11_phillip make more sense than @pphillipsai11;
(I didn’t have to think hard to write their first names for these handles but I’d have to do some research to recall their last names).