I will get this out of the way first…I’m a Twitter evangelist.
Social Media Platforms and Creatives
Now, I know we all understand that social media can be a profound marketing tool, but when discussing “network marketing,” I don’t think that Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the rest come close to offering the content marketing platform that Twitter does. Every television network understands this by now with varying degrees of success, but there is one universally under-appreciated asset that TV has failed to fully utilize; their own employees within their marketing and promotion staffs.
Whether it is writers, producers, creative directors or even production assistants, TV network marketing staffs possess dozens (and sometimes significantly more) of highly educated, media savvy, dynamic men and women with remarkable peer-to-peer networks of other creatives and tastemakers. Despite these robust creative connections, television marketers tend to be rather quiet socially using LinkedIn professionally and Facebook personally with few messages intermingling between the two platforms.
Twitter, on the other hand, is relatively unexploited and given the platform’s emphasis on shared interests, marketing experts have the opportunity to engage with television fans about the shows they are actually promoting.
Twitter and Influence
By far, Twitter is also the largest platform for promoting “influencer” marketing, and creative influence is what makes a marketing staff so valuable. Keep in mind, whenever you have relatively young artistic people living, working and sharing their work within major metropolitan areas, you likely will have creative influencers. Couple that with network staffers who by definition are “experts” on their network brand and programming, and you have exactly the kinds of talent the TV networks should be exploiting.
Finally, a staff trained to promote programming, combined with the technical and social skill to engage with fans, provide the network with incredible opportunities to expand on its audiences. All a marketing staff member would need is rudimentary directives and he or she could easily be a network’s brand ambassador on Twitter.
Of course, there are lawyers and executives who cringe at the idea that their employees could potentially wield such unfettered influence. I understand their concerns to a degree, but if a media company has a social media-marketing strategist then they have to commit to being “social.” Being social isn’t just uploading video clips and stills. On Twitter, “being social” means delivering messages, engaging with an audience and having one-to-one conversations. Of course, as mentioned, there would need to be some protocols in place, but as long as individuals are expressing their own likes, dislikes and opinions without disparaging the brand, programming or employees than the company should encourage their own to be as social as possible.
Closing Argument in the Case for Twitter
One final point is in order to make this work: I firmly believe the television networks will need to incentivize this behavior and not try to make tweeting part of the job. Metrics and success will often be hard to quantify so financial bonuses may not necessarily make sense, but that doesn’t mean the company cannot offer other prizes.
There are plenty of opportunities and experiences that Disney, Viacom, NBCUniversal etc., can offer their staffs including in the very least tickets to anything from sporting events to theme parks. Social media teams can work hand-in-hand with the marketing staffs to create benchmarks for these various prizes, as staff members can all participate in the competition.
In the end, everybody wins-especially the more engaged and enthusiastic audience.