Who owns the new telephone at your TV Station?
Had an "ah-ha" experience while reading The Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund this past weekend. Many TV stations ask me about social media - the typical who, what, where, when and why questions. Most are concerned about maintaining "control" and allowing certain people to post and only after posts are vetted to protect the station's brand. For the most part, the posts are so sanitized they are nothing more than weather and programming promos. My opinion - safe and boring. Pushing information is not relationship/community building.
Not long ago the only interaction viewers had with TV was stations was writing a letter, sending an email or calling them on the phone. It was all very personal and private and the viewer had to really want to communicate with the station. It was an effort. On the station side, there were policies in place and typically time to plan the reaction. Oftentimes many of those calls were handled either by the receptionist (the compliments) or comments and complaints were sent to a designated VP or the GM.
Now if viewers want to communicate with stations they can through a new pipeline called Social Media which is no less important than the telephone, email or the almost extinct letter. In fact, one could argue it is more important because it is immediately relevant, urgent and very public. Questions and comments come in (or may be encouraged) about News, Weather, Sports, Sales, technical issues - virtually every department is touched. Plus it is almost effortless on the part of the viewer.
What most stations haven't realized is Social Media today is yesterday's telephone call, email, and letter combined. The game changer is it's easy, public and demands immediate attention just like answering the telephone.
Back to my "ah-ha" experience. Do TV Stations really want relationships with viewers? Hint - relationships bring loyalty! Are we actively inviting Social Media "calls" like we do in Sales and News? When the Social Media phone rings at your TV Station who answers it? Who owns the new telephone at your TV Station?
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