How The GRAMMYs Broke Records and Paused the Social Web

Large-scale events like Super Bowl XLVI -  where the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots - and the 54th Annual GRAMMYs always bring people together, and the popular social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter only serve to magnify this certainty.

Beverly Jackson, director of marketing/social media for The GRAMMYs, stopped by Social Media Week to give all who would listen the lowdown on how they received 13 million tweets on GRAMMY night.

I hope you’re listening too.

They Are Music

The GRAMMYs made sure to begin with a comprehensive plan of attack built around this year’s theme, We Are Music, and their first point of identification was based on this belief: when thinking of how viewers will be watching The GRAMMYs, remember that they are always viewing at least two screens. By realizing that their audience will have  eyes on at least the television and a computer, the ability increases to forge and organize a social media plan that would be sure to engage and communicate with the millions of viewers.

By understanding how the audience would view their program, they concluded  it was important to have multiple channels on which  people could consume the product online. The GRAMMY plan consisted of five hashtags and pages across the social Web. All instances were branded in some way to add consistency and clarity. Additionally, they sent the details of their plan to record labels and other music companies and organizations linked to the recording artists as possible. Knowing the artists would tweet during the GRAMMYs, they wanted to make sure that those artists were on board and in concert (no pun intended) with The GRAMMY plan.

Not only did this create a more robust conversation, it served its purpose of breeding engagement between the artists and the fans.

The connection did not end there. While the well-known, popular social media campaigns took place, GRAMMY Live -  designed for those who chose or had to watch the program on mobile devices -  was taking place. These correspondents covered the event in real time and also had open lines of communications with those viewers through Twitter and Facebook. GRAMMY Live was accompanied by other mobile apps containing segment countdowns as well as other engagement points.


tweet reach

We are now in a time where measuring many social media results is a matter of Twittermetrics, and although I don’t believe they will replace the Nielsen numbers anytime soon, these metrics represent the lion’s share of the measurement of success.

  • 3.9 Million explicit mentions of  The GRAMMYs. This does not include artist or presenter mentions.
  • According to Social People, Twitter traffic peaked at an incredible 65,000 tweets per second (TPS) during the live broadcast completely obliterating the 12,233 TPS peak at Super Bowl XLVI; and
  • 2.5 Million Twitter mentions of Adele – she won a lot of awards, quite possibly all of them.

The most overwhelming results may have come around the tragedy that took place the night before the live show.

The social media world arrived to all of the popular channels in droves after the announcement of Whitney Houston’s passing. Once people were able to see through their initial grief, Twitter’s hot button topic in particular was how would the GRAMMYs remember Whitney? Even though we do not have the official number of social media mentions regarding this question, we do have an idea of what people felt afterwards:

  • Buzz around the tribute to Whitney Houston, while diverse, was mostly favorable with 81 percent of people offering positive sentiment; and in what many found to be the absolutely most stunning statistic in the presentation;
  • When Jennifer Hudson hit the stage for her tribute performance, Twitter traffic around the GRAMMYs stopped. I’m not talking about a failwhale moment, I’m talking about a social media moment of silence.

What Have We Learned?

The GRAMMYs have shown us how a carefully laid out plan can drive content, conversation and, in terms of what they were searching for in their social media campaign, conversion. They’ve also shown us that it is indeed possible for people to eschew their computers and mobile devices, even if only for a minute or two, for a moment in real life. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

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