Here’s your weekly summary of digital news for broadcasters that we’ve linked you to through the Chris Miller Digital Facebook page this past week.
WAL-MART: ONLINE PIPSQUEAK
Well, compared to Amazon and other leading online retailers, that is. This interesting piece from Bloomburg Businessweek details just how behind the curve Wal-Mart is when it comes to internet retailing. It’s clear that, even still, they’re making decisions from a semi-clueless position.
Not to harp on my broadcast brethren, but this is similar to how radio has embraced digital, if “embraced” is the right word. It turns out there were structures and corporate cultures deep inside Wal-Mart that held up the development of their digital side. If anything, radio has had similar attitudes about the use of digital tools. We’re at the point where just about every station has a website and a Facebook page, and often database emails and sometimes a texting program, too … but many, many, many of those brands are not using those tools in a strategic way.
Read this with an eye towards how broadcasters tend to think of digital media.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IDEAS
I share these because when we put our radio brands out in social media land, usually it takes more than just saying “Follow us on Facebook” to start building fans. These ideas are meant particularly for start-ups … but a smart manager, programmer or promoter could read these and start thinking creatively about things a good radio brand could do to build more online fans. You might want to do this exercise today before you go back to work tomorrow … just me thinking out loud …
WHAT FACEBOOK KNOWS THAT TWITTER DOESN’T
One of the interesting things about this next article is that it’s an opinion piece by Tom Anderson, who is the “Tom” who founded MySpace! It’s a short read, and talks about how Facebook has been good at picking and choosing the features that they borrow from competitors. Tom admits he doesn’t really know what lesson to extract from the facts he presents. He thinks that the answer comes from stepping back and understanding what the value is of what each social media site provides.
Isn’t this true about broadcasting, too? In radio, we know what format each of our brands is. We don’t always know what good we are to people. We don’t bother finding out what it is that really makes people turn us on or stick around for a while or bother to come back again … what is it that changes in them when they turn us on?
MAKING THE MOST OF TWITTER
Here’s an article that describes seven businesses who used Twitter to accomplish a few different things. You can scan it pretty quickly, even if you just read the “Lesson” for each of the seven examples. Often, it seems, social media like Facebook and Twitter and now Google+ get lumped in together. In reality, there are different things you can accomplish with each one, and that even includes others we haven’t mentioned much like Foursquare and StumbleUpon.
However, it’s important to keep your goals and your message and your target in mind. This is sort of like the old media world, where you might buy advertising on TV, or on radio, or on billboards, or direct mail, or other options. There are good reasons to use each one, but it all depends on what it is you’re trying to do. My experience with Twitter is that the Twitterverse is more geeky and specialized than it makes sense for most radio brands to talk to, especially if you’re working to get people to turn on your broadcast or click on your website. Twitter is much better at general awareness or perception-building.
So, to me, it’s interesting to see what people accomplished with Twitter … but it also shows a certain level of commitment in time, resources and people to use Twitter successfully. Meanwhile, lots and lots of people who lean primarily on Facebook are trying to do a little Tweeting, too, and that doesn’t seem to be a winning use of your time.
I love what Jon Stewart has to say about the crazy stuff that goes on in the name of 24-hour cable news. This particular segment is about the tweets … and the names of the tweeters … that cable news has used. This has no redeeming value except it shows the emptiness of purpose of so much TV news these days … and using social media (Twitter, in particular) to show a brief comment on whatever they’re talking about that may or may not be illuminating, in context, or representative of others.