Foster Fan Content -- Nothing Quite Compares
May 27, 2014
With brands – as in life – we teach people how to treat us. The more disconnected, dismissive, or even self-involved we are socially, the more we teach our fans to be equally detached from us.
But the more exciting we are with social exchange, the more revved up fans get with our brands. And that could even lead to better ratings.
Case in point - NBC's Dateline.
Dateline has been reaping the benefits of increased viewership - thanks to its strong content, but also its active social fan base.
And while we know there isn't real "tangible proof" that positive online chatter leads to a bump in ratings, Simon Dumenco, media columnist for Advertsiing Age, puts it best:
Simon's right. Just listen to the three in ten radio fans who told us in Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 10 they listen more to stations that interact with them socially.
But they have to feel that your social effort is real if any of this is going to move the meters.
Just ask Kim Trimble - better known as @KimT205.
Kim doesn't work for NBC or Dateline, but yet she is at the heart of the show's active social fan base on Twitter. She spearheaded the "Dateline Divas" group and even recruits fans every week for the show, indirectly:
Rarely do we get the fan perspective, so I reached out to Kim and asked her about the importance of acknowledgment.
When Dateline correspondents and producers acknowledge you, does it deepen your loyalty for the show?
The answer to that is an empathetic YES. I've always been a fan of Dateline, but that "fandom" multiplied tenfold when they started tweeting, and was reciprocated.
And because of Dateline's interactions with not only me, but others, they are growing their fan base. I've had friends tell me (and tweet) that they never watched Dateline before they saw all of my tweets and RT's about it, but now they're hooked.
Because of the social proclivity shown by correspondents such as Josh Mankiewicz, and Keith Morrison and producers like Susan Nalle and Shane Bishop, it must be a buzzkill when you tweet with anyone else and they don't respond.
It is a buzzkill.
You can tell who really cares about engaging with their fans, not only from tone, but from effort. Recently, some shows have ramped up their efforts to tweet with viewers, but I don't see anyone doing it with the effort and skill of the entire Dateline team. They have set the bar pretty high for not only other shows in their genre, but all shows in general.
What advice would you give brands that would love to have a consistent chatty fan base like the "Dateline Divas?"
Engage, engage, engage.
Listen to fans because other people will, too. You never know what you might find that can be the next hot thing. The "Dateline Divas" was born out of a conversation between me, a few other fans and Josh Mankiewicz. It was completely organic and has turned out to be a lot of fun.
Because Kim mentioned the Dateline Divas started as a group effort, I asked Josh Mankiewicz and Susan Nalle what the Divas mean to them:
JOSH:It's great for fans of Dateline to feel officially welcomed and noticed. I love to see everyone checking in on Fridays as airtime approaches, and then once we are on the air, they're completely engaged - which is exactly the point of all this and having the Divas just makes it way cooler.
Eventually I'd love to have a Dateline-sponsored meet-and-greet for all the Divas, who now number well over a thousand. Hate to think of the bar tab for that one.
SUSAN: The benefit of all of this is a real, honest exchange on Twitter. And it's immediate. Social media helps us become even better storytellers by listening to what the viewers want. And, along the way, we have made some really good virtual friends with whom we would like to hang out and watch Dateline in real life.
So if social is going to correlate to higher ratings, genuine effort is required. Fans will not automatically participate with us socially just because they listen to or watch us.
There are steps involved in putting a social fan base in place and when executed properly, you will find this group of fans to be more active and engaged than the passivity you might see in your email marketing database.
It's because these are chatty folks who love to voice their opinions and point their friends in directions where they perceive value.
Allow this space to not be just about your brand but an indirect path to your brand that fully involves the fans.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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