Stadium Publishing

How to subdue social media

Many media organizations struggle to find the right balance between marketing their own content and serving their social media “obligations”.

Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram accounts rank as table stakes these days. Consider that Tumblr relates to a young demographic and SnapChat is gaining ground and suddenly social media expectations can expand quickly.

Media companies also struggle with the “me-first” mentality stoked by the advent of Twitter. Nothing is worse than having a rival or national media company dispense breaking news on Twitter. For the most part, many media folks will report on Twitter before even pushing something to their own web properties.

How can your organization use a form of social media judo to serve its own interests?

Setting up a personal social experience can feel more like a grooming exercise. Assembling a list of who to follow takes time and weeding through the valuable contributors requires dedicaton as well.

Faced with this challenge several years ago at Comcast SportsNet, I pursued the lazy man’s path. What if the common fan didn’t want to take the time to assemble all the great social pieces surrounding their favorite team? What if we provided that service for the fan and offered them a one-stop social aggregation dashboard?

The “Pulse” dashboard evolved out of this thought process and we were lucky to have a developer – Rick Racela – who fully understood the mission. He worked with a company called Arktan – recently purchased by Janrain – to develop a dashboard that ingested media from all social platforms. The technology allowed us to divide the groups into teams, media, players and fans.

And that’s where the judo part comes in. Instead of worrying about breaking news from teams, players and rival media, all their ingested content appears on YOUR PLATFORM. This serves three purposes:

One, it no longer matters who Tweets or Facebooks something valuable. It appears as content on your site.

Two, from a newsroom perspective, we gained a “radar screen” capable of alerting producers and reporters to breaking news.

Three, from a live broadcast perspective, the dashboard serves as a two-way tool to follow breaking news while also monitoring fan commentary.

But the product evolved into the perfect wrapper for Live Streaming and VOD video. What could be better than blending video engagement with social commentary?

CSN Chicago used their Blackhawks Pulse to live-stream the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Parade. With the addition of a chat client, fans were able to join in on the festivities even if they remained trapped at work and the chat client allowed them to share their emotions with other fans.

Blackhawks Pulse

Some fans experienced the parade from their desks.

But driving fans to a dashboard location creates a challenge. So we also created widgets that allowed producers to place social commentary and updates along the right rails of the site in a contextual manner. Not only did this make fans aware of the dashboard, but it also provided more impressions for sponsors.

Redskins Pulse

Right rails on Redskins content feature this social widget.

As live streaming and VOD play a greater role in content planning and monetization, I believe this marriage of social and video is a critical part of any organization’s future game plan and I expect we will start to see more of it in the future.

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