As consumers begin to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of media and entertainment content available to them, they’re increasingly turning to social media and to dedicated online communities for advice.
There are more than 2 million apps available to download for the iPhone or iPad. Amazon’s Alexa boasts over 40,000 skills and 400 hours of new video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. In other words, in the world of media and entertainment, consumers are about to start suffering from content overload.
“With so much choice available from so many sources, discovery has become a massive obstacle for consumers and brands alike,” begins Geoffrey Boulakia, General Manager EMEA for TSC, Sitel Group’s digital CX agency. “This permutation of sources also means the old rules of advertising and promotion no longer apply – especially for media content.”
The global Ericsson TV and Media Report brings some perspective to the problem. It finds consumers are now spending almost 60 minutes a day looking for something to watch because there is no way of conducting a universal all-channel search that covers all the top providers such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, plus linear TV and downloadable video.
As a result, social media is fast becoming a stand in TV guide. Figures from Salesforce show that 72 percent of consumers searching for content now turn to social channels to get recommendations from their peer groups.
“Networks like Facebook and Twitter are more than simply filling a void, they’re creating communities around shared viewing tastes, just as they do for sports, politics, and fashion,” notes Boulakia. “And they’re opening the door to new possibilities in terms of connectivity, engagement and targeted marketing. Studying existing communities and user groups helps you target the people who could become the biggest fans of new content. Likewise, being proactive around your own social media community helps drive visibility of your existing content.”
For an idea of how powerful a force an organized online community can be, look no further than TV comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. When Fox decided to cancel the popular show in May, its fans mobilized via social media and within a week rival broadcaster NBC stepped in and picked up the show for another season.
“Customers now have all of the tools they need to call the shots and to wield never-before-seen levels of influence over brands,” Boulakia points out, “But this power can also be harnessed by brands to raise their profile, and win new followers.”
Therefore building and maintaining a community should be high on the list of priorities for any organization in any vertical – not just those working in media and entertainment.
“A space devoted to the free exchange of discussion allows a brand to be directly involved in the conversations going on around it,” explains Boulakia. “It also serves as a platform for promoting transparency and trust – crucial elements of modern-day brand building.”
An active community provides customers with support and self-help as its members take it upon themselves to assist each other. A community can also provide advice and guidance, serve as testers for new ideas and through leveraging top ambassadors and influencers, become a source of extremely effective marketing and promotion.
For example, ESPN’s online community is so well engaged that the company was able to bring its marketing function in-house; in doing so, the company saved more than $650,000 in marketing costs in just 12 months.
“Identifying and working directly with your community’s biggest influencers gives your brand an authentic voice that speaks directly to generations Y and Z,” says Boulakia. “Their voice and their ability to communicate across various social networks bring a new level of legitimacy to your brand, while their passion leads to the generation of content that really connects with the community and beyond.”
As an expert in activating and managing online communities, TSC helps brands in the media and beyond, providing them with the tools and insights for engaging with customers and converting them into active participants in your brand story. With its “Promoter” solution, it can also actively identify and mobilize a community’s strongest ambassadors and track both positive and negative content or buzz.