Do you need a “social newsroom”?

Running a "social newsroom" involves "connecting with a collection of consumers making decisions in real time", according to an interesting article in Marketing. But should you have such a newsroom? 

What's a social newsroom?

An example of a social newsroom is Gatorade's "mission control" centre, that we mentioned in our research paper, "Can Social Media Show you the Money?", where social media interactions are monitored and reacted to in real time. 

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Do I need a social newsroom?

The same considerations apply here as to social media in general. The importance of having a social media newsroom depends on your brand and category:

– How social is your brand? 

The Marketing acrticle rightly says that "many brands have been guilty of jumping on the bandwagon and beginning conversations that no consumer in the right mind would consider engaging with in the real world". I suggest thinking about real conversations down the pub, and how likely your brand/category would be to come up. What do people talk about with their mates?

Soccer, yes.

New movies to see, yes.

Celebrity gossip, yes.

Whether you scrunch of fold your toilet paper before using it to wipe your bottom? No. And yet this is the conversation toilet roll brand Andrex tried to start, even spending valuable budget on a TV ad to promote this debate!

– How young is your brand? 

Younger people are far more active on social media, using it more frequently (see below data from our 2012 research paper). So, if you are Axe/Lynx, Gatorade or Nike, then a social newsroom will be more important than if you are selling a brand of dog food or toilet rolls.

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– How online is your brand? 

I nodded a lot whilst reading the article, but one point I strongly disagree with is: "The biggest mistake is to view social as simply another sales channel." I suggest the biggest mistake is NOT seeing social as another sales channel. All marketing should help you SMS (sell more stuff), albeit in a way that builds your brand at the same time.

With this in mind, the more of your sales that are online, the more direct the link you can make from social media content to selling more stuff. If you are the Paddy Power online betting brand, you are one click away from making a sale with social media content. In contrast, with a typical consumer brand like Andrex, the best you can hope for it to raise top-of-mind awareness, to encourage purchase the next time a consumer is in a store.

Investing in a social newsroom

Assuming you do have a social brand, with a high % of sales online, and you do want a social newsroom, the article has some good advice on how to run one.
– Killer content
Content is king with social media, and so your newsroom will need a stream of interesting stuff to talk about. One way to do this is to enroll "brand ambassadors" who people want to hear from. For example, Adidas created content with Lionel Messi to drive interest in a new boot launch.

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– Create AND promote content

It's one thing to create social media content. However, you also need to invest in then spreading this content. As the article says, "A growing number of brands have invested in content but failed to devote any budget to promoting it. These brands are guilty of contributing to the ever-expanding wasteland of content , which few consumers will ever see."

In conclusion, as the article says, "Many consumers simply to not want to be 'friends' with an inanimate object, or 'like' their bank; they simply want a decent service or product". So, before you rush to invest in setting up and running a social newsroom, think through carefully whether the effort woulnd't be better focused on doing just this.