Hectic Nine-9, the most interactive youth television show for teens and tweens, screened on SABC2, achieved yet another digital milestone when its ever-popular Facebook fan page reached an impressive 313 655 fans this week, surpassing the much anticipated 300 000 figure. The show’s success is clearly not limited to its 60 minute broadcast.
Viewers are taking increasing advantage of engaging with the Hectic Nine-9 brand through Facebook, the show’s website and numerous other social media platforms, including Twitter @hecticnine9.
The world of online is a channel requiring constant evaluation and evolvement, possibly more so than any other marketing tool available. Most media brands, including Hectic Nine-9, are looking to make significant inroads into the world of online relationship building. Whilst no longer in its infancy, digital marketing is still young and results in some valuable lessons being learnt and implemented literally on the job.
We are identifying and learning daily from our successes and challenges. Here are some of them:
One has to ‘be native’ to the platform. Previously, a good piece of content posted on Facebook would find its way to other platforms simply by being good enough to share. No longer. Each platform is different, complete with its own user culture. The same piece of content that garners ‘likes’ and comments on Facebook won’t necessarily receive a corresponding amount of retweets or Instagram ‘hearts’. Play to the strengths of each social platform, what it offers and its values. You will enjoy greater success and bigger gains in engagement if you do so.
Standalone online content
Hectic Nine-9 is a television show. It therefore made perfect sense to share with its online viewers what was being shown on TV. Yet the online space offers so much more. As an extension of your brand or product, it affords the opportunity to offer standalone content that the audience will not find anywhere else. With Hectic Nine-9, that has meant making content that won’t be seen on air available online. Eventually your brand’s online presence exists as its own entity, still driven by but no longer relying on its primary media platform to exist.
One of the most fundamental rules of communication is to be understood. It applies to anyone, of any age – we connect and engage more with a piece of content that makes sense. Sharing a fantastic picture, quote or video online does not mean very much if context is lacking. The grating and very overused ‘check this out!’ as a headline to your piece of content represents a serious lack of context. What are we checking out? And for how long? And why?
We’ve paid more attention to context in our online posts. As a result, our young audience can immediately connect the dots and see the benefit attached to reading, looking at, or watching a particular piece of content.
As much as we receive great comments online, we know we’re talking to a very informed audience who aren’t shy to ask us why we did or said something, to point out an error spotted on air (this is live television, after all) or, quite blatantly, to criticise the manner in which we’ve handled a certain topic. This is the online space and there is nowhere to hide. Crucially, we don’t try to hide. It’s important to remain transparent and remain open to all viewpoints and feedback, with negative comments actually providing a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s integrity and willingness to assist a viewer or customer.
So it seems, before developing a new social media strategy for your brand or service – even if you’ve been playing in this space for several years – there is value in constantly reviewing both, your style and the methods of communicating. It’s paid off for Hectic Nine-9 with its 313 665 ‘likes’.
Karl Furlong is head on Hectic-9 online.
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