How to properly pre-launch a show

Several months back NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over hosting duties for Conan O'Brien once Conan replaces Jay Leno next year on the Tonight Show. He's just a kid (35) compared to O'Brien (45) and Leno (58) and although I don't watch a lot of late night talk shows, I'm definitely interested to see what Jimmy brings to the table, or desk, I guess.

Earlier tonight I saw a tweet scroll by that was a response to @jimmyfallon. Usually when I see a celeb's name as part of a twitter account, I'll visit the profile page to see what's what. I like to try to figure out if it's really the celeb doing the tweeting, or if it's some marketing guy. Not that I mind the ‘marketing guy' angle, I just like to see how they are using social media. Regardless, what I found on Jimmy's profile page was a link to LateNightWithJimmyFallon.com, and this is where the fun begins.

On the site Jimmy is doing a daily video blog. The first few have been a behind the scenes look at the studio where the show will be taped, meet the announcer and the first installment of “Ask Jimmy“; a weekly segment where he'll answer questions sent in by the community. If you record a video asking your question and send it in, there's a chance you're going to end up being part of the segment. I'm looking forward to more episodes of Ask Jimmy.

It's great to see a show taking advantage of social media. And take advantage they are. Aside from Jimmy personally twittering, check out this post where they list 18 ways to connect with Jimmy online. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, etc… As I'm writing this, Jimmy has over 3500 followers on twitter, 879 friends on Facebook and 3300 friends on Myspace. By interacting with the audience before there's even a show to watch, Jimmy's going to build a buzz for the show that will be far greater than if they went with the usual commercial onslaught in every popular TV show on NBC during the month leading up to Jimmy's debut on the show.

Congrats to NBC and Jimmy Fallon for realizing the benefits of social media.

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