Getting Creative Can Drive Revenue From Social

By TVNewsCheck on December 11, 2018

The winners of TVNewsCheck’s first Social Media Excellence Awards describe how their stations have been able to monetize various experiments in targeting social media audiences that go beyond just repeating what’s in their news broadcasts.

L-R: Josh Johnson, WSFA Montgomery, Ala.; Kristen Hampton, WBTV Charlotte, N.C.; Chris Boex, WTVT Tampa, Fla.; Christie O’Sullivan, WTVT; Hope Wilson, KCCI Des Moines, Iowa (Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross).

The recipients of TVNewsCheck’s first Social Media Excellence Awards say TV stations should find ways to use social media more creatively to not only establish a bond with viewers but also to bring in some additional revenue.

Kim Wilson, president and founder of Social News Desk, the presenting data partner for the awards, moderated the discussion, part of TVNewsCheck’s sixth annual NewsTECHForum in New York on Monday.

Josh Johnson, chief meteorologist at Raycom’s WSFA Montgomery, Ala. (DMA 116), didn’t monetize his winning achievement but provided an enormous service to viewers. He obtained U.S. government aerial photos of rural Alabama taken during Hurricane Michael and posted them on Facebook Live so folks who were evacuated from their homes could see if they had been damaged.

Johnson, who won the Innovator Award, got other Raycom stations in the affected states to run it on their FB Live sites.

But Johnson has run other FB Live postings that have brought in some revenue for the station. When he does his live posts on Facebook, just prior on TV he does a countdown to the post which is paid for by a sponsor who’s charged about $2,500 per event.

And he also recently did a pet picture contest on FB Live for which the station got a sponsorship fee of $10,000 from Pet Palace Hotels.

“I would encourage you to allow your people to do this — help find certain new niches of advertising,” Johnson told the station group executives in the audience.

Johnson also helps foster better relations between viewers and the station when he invites them to visit in person to express their thoughts on the news and weather at the station.

Kristen Hampton, a reporter at Raycom CBS affiliate WBTV Charlotte, N.C. (DMA 23), won the Talent Award for a series of humorous Facebook Live videos on an assortment of topics. Her first one, which got 43 million views, was a review of a product aimed at getting rid of cheek jowls.

Her longest FB Live event was about 55 minutes. “I don’t know how they would do on TV because the audience is so different,” she said. And obviously they would have to be extremely short. So far, the station has run only one of her pieces on TV.

Hearst-owned KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa (DMA 75), won the Small-Medium Market Award for its FB Live content and its multiplatform social media approach.

Hope Wilson, KCCI digital editor, said two of the social media features include posting interesting videos on Twitter, called Twitter Moments, and another called Tweets for Talent, which could be real talent or something as mindless as an inflatable duck that is seen rolling down a street.

In addition, Wilson said she encourages all the station’s reporters to tweet nonstop.

Chris Boex, WTVT Tampa (DMA 11) senior web producer, and Christie O’Sullivan, social lead, jointly accepted the Large Market Award for use of local content on Facebook Live.

Boex said their content includes streaming videos of all types, including weather. “We piggyback on what broadcast is doing, but are not afraid to come up with our own visuals. We create content for all platforms. [The videos] are a celebration of what is great about Florida.”

O’Sullivan said WTVT also does Twitter Moments and runs breaking news on Twitter as well. “We produce all of our news and videos based on the platform so they are different on Twitter than they are on Facebook.”

In addition to monetization, what makes for successful social posting by stations? Boex said success is measured by Facebook shares with success meaning between 1,000 and 2,000 shares.

O’Sullivan says it’s not enough just to reach people. “I look at what emotions I can evoke. You have to make people feel something in order to connect.”

Here is the link to a video of this session:

Read all our NewsTECHForum coverage:

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Journalists Bring Digital Aesthetic To Local News

NBC Stations’ Staab Underscores Localism, Tech

How Broadcasters Can Reach Young Viewers

NBC Stations Expanding IP News In 2019