Monday, 13 January 2014

After two years away from screens, the return of Sherlock to @BBCOne this January was one of the most hotly-anticipated TV events of the year — and the levels of excitement were reflected in the conversation on Twitter.

According to social analytics firm @SecondSync last night’s finale generated more than 377,000 Tweets, hitting a peak of more than 10,000 Tweets per minute:

That number beat the 304,000 Tweets generated by the opening episode of the series on New Years Day: 

And before the series even began, there were 365,000 mentions of the hashtag #SherlockLives on Twitter, the hashtag created by @BBCOne to build anticipation ahead of the show’s return.

Twitter is the social soundtrack to TV, giving viewers a place to come to share in the highs and the lows of their favourite shows. Different types of TV shows generate different patterns of Tweets, with dramas such as #Sherlock seeing high volumes of conversation at the end of the show and around the most dramatic moments.

The team behind the @BBCOne account used their understanding of how Twitter users interact with TV Drama to tweet along with the episode, making the most of Twitter’s live, public and conversational nature.

They anticipated the moments when viewers would turn to Twitter, capturing the most tweetable moments for fans to engage with and sharing premium content such as behind the scenes photos and quotes. This activity gave the @BBCOne account some of their most engaged Tweets of all-time: 

And as the series concluded, the show’s writers Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) took part in a Q&A for fans from the @BBCOne account using the hashtag #SherlockQA. It gave fans the chance to ask burning questions about the show and get direct access to the creators of the show.

The @BBCOne account saw its highest-ever gain in follower numbers, adding almost 10,000 new followers in one day, and continuing the conversation on Twitter after the end of the show: 

Sherlock was also a hit when it came to viewing figures, with the opening episode attracting 9.2 million viewers, and adding a record 3.54 million additional viewers in time-shifted viewing. A US study by Nielsen showed a two-way causal influence between broadcast TV tune-in for a program and the Twitter conversation around that program.

By giving fans high-quality content on Twitter and producing great content on Twitter throughout the show, @BBCOne and #Sherlock has set a high bar for audience engagement around Drama for 2014. And with shows such as ITV’s #MrSelfridge and new BBC drama #Musketeers due to hit screens in coming weeks, Twitter will remain the best place for TV viewers to join the conversation and share in the drama.