Radio's "Social Media Command Center"
January 31, 2012
For two weeks leading up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl (or “Big Game,” just to play it safe), an Indianapolis-based team has been reading and responding to fans in their city who are posting about the game and their teams. In the process, Indianapolis is elevating the fan experience.
It’s what digital and social platforms do so well - enable us to heighten radio’s already “chatty brands” and big events to a more buzzworthy experience by incorporating real-time interaction. It’s a way to show you’re present and most importantly connected to their preferred platforms.
All research done today, including radio’s annual Jacobs Techsurveys, point to the fact that people are glued to their mobile phones, laptops and of course, Facebook. So, why not give fans that “behind the curtain” feel they enjoy so much on the channels they say they “can’t live without?”
Whether it’s backstage cameras (which is what really makes events stand out) or real-time polls or conversation, when you enable fan participation you take heritage events and make them even more special.
Yet, in order to develop and execute an efficient interactive “command center,” it’s important to acknowledge that a strategy must be in place before you venture out into the social media wilderness. Too many times, brands “do” social and digital on the fly around annual events, and the outcome is scattered and questionable.
“Random acts of social” leave you with no measurement - no ability to record what didn’t work and no way to template for future success.
Radio may have its challenges with staffing. Believe it or not, while there are stations that are fully staffed with talent that “get it,” there are often issues with skeletal staffs and the challenge of little buy-in.
So being realistic is a start. Identify people outside the station who could be part of your “super social team” such as interns, colleagues from sister stations, and even friends/family members - really anyone who is trustworthy, has the wherewithal to respond in an appropriate, timely manner, and who will speak in the singular voice of the brand.
Think of all the questions that may come in: directions, what’s allowed at the event and what’s not, weather related items, artist stage times, and other information (such as what to do in case of an emergency).
Beyond your station website and Facebook, consider other opportunities that can facilitate real-time communication for your event, such as Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, and even Google Plus Hang-outs. How cool would it be to have one of your stars live from the big event doing a Hangout with nine lucky listeners?
One piece that is frequently forgotten is a mobile strategy. A dedicated app for the event along with texting offers real-time opportunities and can be very effective.
The fact that likely 100% of those who attend will have a cell phone in their pocket or purse opens up many opportunities.
You could also encourage fans to email/text pictures they take to a dedicated web page. In this way, you have real-time “citizen journalists” at your own event.
Staying up on real-time conversation via social monitoring tools such as Social Seek and Social Mention also offers the ability to amplify what’s being talked about. The opportunity is creating/curating content around these conversations and linking it out - pulling this social audience into your space - your station’s website.
A “social command center” is not just about responding - it’s about being proactive and participating in people’s conversations. Whether they are seeking out information about the event or just throwing out their comments and observations socially it’s about offering acknowledgement, which enhances the event experience, leaving them coming back for more.
Talking with (and even surprising) your fans in real-time on their preferred platforms is a bigger deal than you may realize. The more you consider that these platforms are simply tools, and that the relationships that you build are what’s key, the closer you are to ensuring the long-term health of your brand, which ultimately lends to the bottom line.
And since neither my beloved Green Bay Packers (nor newly adopted Detroit Lions) teams are in the “Big Game” this year, I’ll just say “Good Luck” to every fan of the New York Giants and New England Patriots! Let’s hope for a great game!
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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