Being cast on a popular reality show catapults one’s personal life into the spotlight. Long gone are the days where privacy exists post-show. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how long they last on the season. Take for example, Joe Amabile (or better known as “Grocery Store Joe”) from the most recent season of “The Bachelorette.” Despite being eliminated on night one and only having 3 minutes of airtime, grocery-store owner Joe developed a fan-following on Twitter. The down-to-earth, sweet, soft-spoken Chicagoan was mentioned so much on Twitter that producers brought him back for “Bachelor in Paradise.” This is just one example of how social media response influences the content (and people) we see on television.

There are 2 major components of social media that allow for content creation: hashtags and audience.

Once identified as the “pound” sign, the # symbol is now better known as a hashtag. Hashtags are metadata tags used on various social media platforms, especially on Twitter, that allow a user’s post to appear within a specific topic of search results. Individuals typically use it to attract more followers (we’ve all had to unfollow that certain person on Instagram because their caption #has #every #single #word #hashtagged). For businesses, a hashtag can be a great tool in collecting analytics information and generating new leads.

Closely monitored by social media managers, hashtags are an easy determinant of who and what is trending. Posts with hashtags get twice as many interactions, and 55% more retweets. However, it’s important to note that more is not always better. When there are tweets with two or more hashtags, engagement for that post drops an average of 17%. Therefore, pick a hashtag and stick with it!

However, a hashtag is only as useful as the audience who engages with it. Therefore, the role of the audience is the most important piece of the puzzle. These are the people who provide opinionated, uncensored, and FREE feedback. Before social media, analytics were limited to a broad demographic of age, location and gender. Now, these demographics consist of specific names leading to a minefield of information for those running the show. Within the Bachelor-nation, producers can see which castmates are being talked about most and thus, whose presence will bring in the most ratings. In a way, the audience is the real “influencer” in content creation and business strategy.

Brands like “The Bachelor” can communicate directly to viewers by having castmates live-tweet during an episode and engage with those using the #BachelorInParadise hashtag. Programs whose cast members live-tweet when the show is airing generate 64% more discussion than programs whose cast members abstain. This mutual relationship benefits those at home as they have people listening & recognizing their opinions; and those featured on the show receive recognition, more followers, and endorsement opportunities.