How can media companies and broadcasters use social media to build reach and activate audiences across devices?
As marketers we spend a lot of time and resources using social platforms for many different reasons, but unfortunately, sometimes that reason is “CYA” because we really don’t know what is going to work. Many media companies and broadcasters push out content across individual social channels — just hoping to attract more eyeballs or, at the very least, retain the ones they have. However, television, as a sole mechanism for broadcasting information, is struggling to stay relevant when audiences want to respond — or when they switch devices because they’re bored or distracted by other media. Let’s face it, the old paradigm of communicating with a passive audience is dead — and broadcast and media companies are often just grappling with social to try and stay relevant. It can be so much better than that. When broadcasters are able to instantly find the right content from all of their social channels and surface it in a compelling way to any screen, all of a sudden, they find themselves back in step with their audience. In short, it’s all about infinite — and instantaneous — storytelling flexibility.
So, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “Infinite AND instantaneous storytelling flexibility?! That sounds crazy. It would take some heavy resourcing and software and a lot brilliant strategic and operational minds to do that.” True. Maybe 5 years ago. Now, you can do that with one platform and one individual running it. It sounds almost comical compared to the way things used to be, but to give you an analogy, how many people does it take to run a Google search? Yeah, it’s that easy.
Television is no longer a spectator sport; it’s an active user experience.
Michael Galbe, Director of Sales, Media & Entertainment, Wayin
However, unlike just running a Google search, when you’re in any news organization or TV network, you have to DO something with the information. You have to understand how the social content relates to the story you are telling, visualize it for your audience and inspire your audience to engage with your programming. And, if they’re not responding, you have to be able to shift on a dime.
Take a look at CP24 in Canada. When they were covering last November’s Mayoral election, they wanted to do something more than just break the news. They wanted to produce the news in an authentic and participative way incorporating social content. They had to connect with their audience in realtime to do this. They were able to take the pulse of their audience and determine how they felt about candidates for the Toronto Mayoral election. They created realtime social polling....and used the visuals and social data to power their live broadcast all night. In the past, something like this would’ve been done with sampling...flawed exit polls...political pundits...and you still wouldn’t have gotten the full story. But because CP24 was using Wayin powered social technology, they incorporated their audience’s social conversation into their programming, which was far more engaging than how it was done in the past.
CP24 is on the leading edge of broadcast transformation. In fact, TV networks are transforming their entire strategies around their digital content. A new global survey from Nielsen found that 33% of American TV viewers said they engage with social media while watching TV, and 62% of North Americans said they browse the Internet while watching video programming. This actually isn’t news. But the fact is, that few networks are doing it well.
Television is no longer a spectator sport; it’s an active user experience. Another great example of how television can capitalize on the symbiotic relationship between social media and the once passive activity of watching sports is how the Sportsnet Channel in Canada created multiplatform social integrations around the NHL Draft and the NHL Trade Day. Sportsnet onair talent used Wayin to surface the most relevant social content and visualize the conversations on air, in real time, to coincide with the trades as they unfolded. They also created interactive online and mobile experiences, inspiring fans to vote via Twitter on their favorite (or not-so-favorite) teams and players and trades.
Interactive social television, when done well, like CP24 or Sportsnet, is not a matter of embedding tweets into a broadcast. It can, and should, be an infinitely fluid and flexible, realtime social experience for viewers. If media companies are to stay relevant, they’re going to need to quickly find a way to let their audiences experience and participate in the stories that are most meaningful to them — on any device available.