There was a great short article on Mashable yesterday, entitled SMO vs. Engagement: Why They’re Different and How You Can Rock Both. Basically, this piece was a good summary of some stuff I’ve been telling you all along, which is probably why I enjoyed reading it so much!
Still, it’s a good reminder of what we’re trying to accomplish for our brands with social media.
- Engagement is a key step in bringing people back to your brand, because the right engagement helps build and maintain the right fan base … which you can then use to tie back to your brand, either on the air or online.
- SMO, or Social Media Optimization, is basically the real nuts-and-bolts brand-building part of the equation, where you remember to post links to your website and clue people when to listen or watch your on-air product.
For broadcasters, the engagement part is something that, frankly, a lot of us are trying to accomplish by throwing stuff at the proverbial wall and seeing what proverbially sticks. Generally (and this is much more true for radio stations than TV stations), you’ll find that the content posted on Facebook or Twitter for radio brands goes far beyond what you might expect to hear on the radio station.
My opinion is that this is happening because, mostly, it’s DJs and on-air personalities who are posting for radio brands. As a rule of thumb, these are people who have a strong general idea of who’s listening; they’re often not so strong on the brand-management, narrow-focus that’s needed here.
When you go looking for subjects to engage with your fans on, here’s something to remember. When they stumble upon one of your posts in the midst of everything happening on their Facebook page, it’s as if they’ve been in a crowded shopping mall and come upon your remote booth with your street team manning it. Their first thought is what they remember about you as a brand. This is when you want to be able to focus on … and engage them … on topics that fit with your brand, and make you special.
SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIMIZATION
The article I linked to has a more geek-ish take on social media optimization than I do … especially for broadcasters. For a media brand, we’re working to not only get people back to our website; we’re working to get them to create more viewing or listening occasions. Most of us are running 24/7 operations, anyway, and we’re never going to be able to find the optimal days or times when the right number of fans are on Facebook to steer them to our brands.
Instead, we want to identify the good, really brand-related things we do that our fans are going to enjoy. Again, these are things that people already like about us. A particular news story, for a TV news operation … a new song by a hot artist on a music-intensive radio station … these are the sorts of things that “optimize” our social media fans, and get them to come back into the brand.
Keeping in mind that it’s your biggest fans who tend to like you on Facebook, you can see … again and again … that giving these folks extra, expanded, advance access what you do is a winning proposition.
THE DIFFERENCE … & EXECUTION
It’s easier for media folks to engage with their fans than move those fans to different parts of their brand (website, on-air). I find that’s because when you engage with them, you get some instant gratification. People start “liking” or commenting on or sharing what you posted on Facebook. As good as that feels, it’s not enough.
If you work to get your big fans back into your brand more often, you’ve really accomplished something. However, it’s harder to measure. You can’t see right away if a link you posted on your Facebook page really delivers people to your website. You can go in and look at the stats on your website, but when it comes to getting people back to your on-air brand … even if you break down the ratings, you don’t really know for any one occasion how you did with your brand-building efforts. You just have to be consistent about your efforts, have faith you’re offering something of value, and see if the ratings go in your favor over time.
However, as a start, we can raise our standards by working to make our social media posts … as many as possible … both engaging and brand-building. I’d encourage you to drop all the stray posts like, “How’s your Saturday going so far?” and work to create posts that both bond with your fans, and work to change their behavior.
That might mean fewer posts. That would probably be a good thing. If you can show your fans that when you step in front of them on a busy day it’s always because you understand them and have something good for them, that would be a real step in the right direction!