Already a titan of the sports and entertainment social media space, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) says it's ready to begin a new era of even more fan engagement and interactivity with the 1,000th episode of its signature program, Raw, on Monday night.
The program will introduce the #RAWactive social initiative, incorporating platforms including Twitter, Tout, Shazam, Instagram and Facebook for fans to converse with wrestlers and one another during the show as well as help control outcomes and storylines.
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Fans will be able to submit videos and photos for a chance to see their posts broadcast on live TV. Fan input via social media will also be used to determine things such as future matchups and Raw's future general managers. A series of apps launching in August will further deepen the role social and digital media play in WWE programming, says Jason Hoch, the company's head of digital.
"We're introducing a number of new elements starting Monday, but going forward we're going to make choices creatively about what should be weaved in where," Hoch told Mashable last week. "We really want this to be an engaging and new experience even more than it already is."
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Part of that new experience will be a continuation of the WWE's partnership with the video sharing network Tout. Last week, Monday Night Raw featured a slew of fan-submitted 15-second videos for the first time, and the beginning of the partnership delivered some very impressive engagement results. Tout shot up the App Store charts, more than a million Tout posts were viewed during and after the show, and more than 12,000 updates and replies were posted by users.
While the WWE seeks to further beef up its social brand, the company has a massive foundation to build on. WWE announced its 100 millionth social media follower across all networks last week, and regularly creates multiple worldwide trending topics weekly. On Facebook, the WWE's range of of league and wrestler pages has more fans than the NFL and its 32 team pages. Given how far the company has come since Raw began in 1993, Hoch believes the 1,000th episode is an ideal time to kick off an increased focus on social engagement.
"What we do now is really unlike the first episode of Raw so many years ago," he says. "Social is so important now to fans' experiences and what they demand out of a show, so we're going to keep exploring and innovating and trying some great new things every episode moving forward."
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Thumbnail image courtesy WWE.com
This story originally published on Mashable here.