The 2011 BET Awards will kick off this Sunday night at 8 ET with multiple levels of social engagement. BET’s new director of social media, JP Lespinasse (formerly with the NBA), says the network’s “mission is to make this the most social awards show ever.” While most awards shows are going out of their way to create opportunities for viewers to converse across social channels, Lespinasse made a point that, “we’re not doing any one thing that’s mind-blowing — it’s about the combination of things.”
Live tweeting during the broadcast:
There’s no doubt that Twitter has been successful in creating a standard among live broadcasts to incorporate tweets in real-time. What you don’t usually hear about is the process behind the scenes to make a tweet to appear on television minutes after the content was created. The network’s biggest partner is visualization and curation experts Mass Relevance, who will be filtering and powering the different displays of social content throughout the broadcast. Lespinasse interestingly described that he will “literally be in the truck next to the person who does the machine, who will type in the content to the graphics that will already be pre-built.” Alongside him will be someone from the legal department and a producer of the show, simultaneously looking at tweets and green lighting them for broadcast.
Live Ford giveaway via a secret hashtag and social media lounge:
Auto-maker Ford has designed a beautiful social media lounge “a room for select online media and celebs to blog and update social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook in real time,” according to BET’s PR team. Ford will be giving away a 2012 Ford Focus live during the show via Twitter. If you enter to win via a standard form before the broadcast you’ll be sent a secret hashtag before the show to tweet. Social media host @Lala Anthony will be picking the winner live from the lounge during the broadcast.
First-time partnership with GetGlue
BET has partnered with entertainment check-in leader GetGlue, for exclusive stickers for checking-in before and during the show. I asked Lespinasse if he thinks the service will start charging for badges like Foursquare has. He said that while a brand such as Starbucks can derive direct revenue from having someone check-in to their location, “I don’t think anyone has impacted how a brand can monetize from people checking-in TV.”
Leveraging 106 & Park with “Fandamonium” contest
BET’s 106 and Park (which for a TV show has an unmatched 2.5 million followers on Twitter) launched a competition (“Fandamonium”) for fans of Chris Brown, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Mindless Behavior. Fans had to complete “social media and digital tasks” over fourteen days to decide which artist had the biggest fan base (the competition ended last night and the winner will be announced on Sunday). The last task called for fans to tweet, #betbreezy, #betbarbies, #betmonsters or #betmindless.
Backstage livestream and Twitter wall on stage
While they have a lot to live up to after MTV’s Movie Awards successful second screen initiative, they plan on launching an experience that will give viewers a complete look at backstage (during the commercials the sound will be on and then when the show comes back on it will be off) and a Twitter stream. There will also be a Twitter wall on stage with mentions of the winner as they walk on to accept their award, a component that will really give fans a chance to be on screen as their favorites win.
Celebrities using social media for the awards
Host Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) has been tweeting up a storm and even has a promotional video — with the on-screen hashtag #betawards — where he talks to the Twitter bird. Even trending sensation Justin Bieber will be among the stars Sunday night. So get ready for lots of trending topics on Twitter.