Social Media on TV – Part 1: Why Should We?

Social Media on TV – Part 1: Why Should We?
By Kim Wilson

TV stations have a huge advantage in social media. Unlike most brands, TV stations have their own megaphone and aren’t reliant on the social channels for self-promotion. But that doesn’t mean TV stations are turning a blind eye to the power of social media. Instead, more and more of them are learning how to leverage the power of broadcast television in combination with social media. And it’s working.

Late last year, a Nielsen study found 25% of U.S. viewers said they were more aware of TV programs because of their social media interactions. And as local newsrooms seek to differentiate their ‘Main Street Media’ image from their Main Stream Media cable competitors, user-generated content in the form of social media will become even more important.

If It’s Good Enough For Jimmy…

Jimmy Fallon’s swift rise in ratings and subsequent promotion to the Tonight Show has been credited in large part to his savvy use of social media on TV. Fallon’s “Late Night Hashtag” segment is so popular that the hashtags have risen to national, sometimes even worldwide Trending Topics on a regular basis. Fallon’s approach is a case study on how to combine the broadcast megaphone with the social media megaphone for an exponential increase in engagement on both platforms.

And it’s just as easy as it looks. All broadcasters have the built-in ability to incentivize social participation. The simple promise to a viewer that their name/face/comment might appear on television is a powerful carrot. Fallon knows this and uses it well.

Can we do it in Local TV?

You don’t have to employ a staff of comedians to come up with good social TV. Local TV stations are filled with journalists who have one very important skill in common: the ability to ask great questions. Use it to your advantage and start asking more questions on social media. Then, put the answers on TV. Here are a few important tips to make the most of an on-screen Q&A:

  • – Ask questions on social media and showcase the best answers on TV, and include available user information such as username and profile image.
  • – Develop a station-specific hashtag; something that can be included in the graphics packages featuring social content.
  • – Promote your hashtags on air, online and in social media so they’re top of mind for viewers.
  • – Be consistent. Set aside a specific time, day or segment in a show to focus on your viewers and their contributions.

Building this into the daily workflow can be easier said than done in a resource-strapped newsroom. But putting the power in your producer’s hands can make all the difference. It’s why we created SND On Air; a simple, web-based interface to find great social media and put it on TV in seconds. We believe in the power of social TV and hate to see workflow become the reason a great social post doesn’t get air time.

Next up: Real world examples of how social TV is reaching viewers in local TV.

Kim Wilson is the President and Founder of SocialNewsDesk. She regularly writes and speaks on social media best practices for journalists and news organizations. You can connect with Kim @kimsnd on Twitter.