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Why Social Media Means Channel 4’s Bake Off Can Still Be Popular

As loyal Bake Off fans take to social media to express how Channel 4’s recent acquisition of The Great British Bake Off will be ‘like bread without butter’, little do they know that their contribution towards the #GBBO trend is actually what will keep the show going. Social media has become an invaluable and staple asset for brands to increase awareness and popularity of products or, in this instance, shows, and by curating a sensitive social media strategy to both respond to loyal watchers and entice prospective watchers, Channel 4 has the potential to make The Great British Bake Off bigger than ever.

From the show’s infancy, the BBC has successfully grown the show’s popularity amongst audiences, increasing the viewer size from 2 million to nearly 15 million at its peak. Social media has played a substantial role in the show’s rapid growth over seven seasons, with dedicated social accounts being set-up and managed to coordinate all of the inbound social media mentions, which, episode-to-episode, can fluctuate from 3,000 mentions per minute to a total of 57,000 mentions in an hour.

A stake of the show’s popularity can be owed to dual screening, as social media has continuously transformed the way audiences digest television. For Channel 4 to reap the benefits of multi-screening, a continuation or even an amplified copy of BBC’s encouragement tactics to involve the public in Great British Bake Off discussions will need to be mimicked, with Channel 4 continuing to push the novel and favored technique of transcribing the show onto social media through shareable GIFs and comic quotes.

A unique reputation The Great British Bake Off has accumulated online is its shareable content. For Channel 4 to simply create social media accounts and narrate the show is not enough to entice social audiences to share and boost the profile of the show. Channel 4 will have to serve authentic and unique content to its followers, pulling iconic and humorous sequences from the show and turning them into GIFs, videos and hashtags to encourage audience involvement.

Despite Channel 4 having to take some corporate measures to ensure the success and growth of the show, such as creating the accounts and determining the tone of voice, content and approach, a majority of conversations will be sparked purely by chance – mostly due to characteristics of the contestants. Brandwatch has conducted a social media review into each individual episode of The Great British Bake Off, and as the results display, a majority of the conversations sparked online are mostly made-up of opinions about the contestants. Social media acts as an accessible hub for anyone and everywhere to relay their own personal opinions, and freely express their thoughts and feelings on a particular matter.

There is inevitably an uncertainty of what’s in store for The Great British Bake Off following its move to Channel 4, and besides the certainty of more adverts and less screen time, the success of the show can only be predicted. From a social perspective, Channel 4 has the opportunity to continue and lead on the growth the BBC achieved, and pursue the existing dedicated audience of The Great British Bake Off whilst using social media to entice new viewers.

Not only does The Great British Bake Off give opportunity for Channel 4 to score success, there is also the potential for other businesses alike to cash-in on the Bake Off fever, tailoring retail products in relevance to that week’s episode. The Great British Bake Off lends the unique opportunity to consumers and retailers alike to contribute to a breadth of conversations online, and it can only be hoped that Channel 4 will continue welcoming this huge slice of public input on the new series.

What are your predictions for Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off? Is social media enough to ensure the success of a product or show? Leave your comments below.

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