Discovery Communications has a robust social media program that is (or should be) the envy of the traditional media world. For example, the Discovery Channel Facebook page has over 9 million fans, a decent percentage of whom are actively engaged. Gayle Weiswasser, heads up social media for Discovery and my interview with her follows. Gayle, as you will soon find out, is a big believer in having a cross-disciplined team and creating content that really addresses the needs and wants of your fan base. Sounds easy enough…
DN: Can you speak to the benefits of having a cross-discipline team to handle social media?
Social media is a function that crosses many disciplines, and failure to recognize this leads to an unnecessarily restricted team that cannot operate at its full potential. At Discovery, social media supports marketing, communications, digital, ad sales, commerce, distribution, government relations and other business units. As a result, the company benefits from having a cross-disciplined team that can add value in many different areas, instead of just one. This structure requires flexibility in reporting as well as a lot of communication and coordination across teams, but it yields a much richer social media strategy that can be successfully integrated to meet many business goals at once.
DN: What’s your trick for developing such effective content?
Effective content takes into consideration the reasons that fans are following social media accounts in the first place. Why are they there? Do they want product information? Behind-the-scenes scoops? Exclusives? Discounts? Substantive content about particular subjects? Trends? Understanding the passions and interests of your audience is the first step toward developing engaging content. Beyond that, it’s important to set a very high bar for the quality of what gets posted on social platforms. Social media teams should ask themselves, before posting, “If I were a fan of this page or account, would I be inspired to click, share, or otherwise engage with this content?” If the answer is no, then the content shouldn’t be posted. Fans will reward good content with engagement and will ignore the rest.
DN: Turns out, large B2C companies scored higher [on the Social Media Fitness Survey] than B2B firms. Do you have any thoughts on why that may be the case?
I think this is because social media is more successful as a B2C tool, with the bulk of the activity on the platforms being for personal and social reasons, rather than for professional ones (the exception being those of us who work in social media and those looking to network). From a numbers perspective, there is also more opportunity to reach people, with personal accounts far exceeding business accounts. Additionally, given the way most social platforms are designed, with the exception of LinkedIn, it’s simply easier to share content with consumers.