I’ve set myself a social media challenge: to look at three brands every month within a specific industry to find out how well they’re
doing in the social media space, or not.

I’ll rate them in terms of their performance alongside others in the
same sector. I’ll share what I find here and really welcome your
comments on my findings.

I’m going to give each brand a ‘Social Media Reputation’ score. This is
a system we’ve developed here at Yomego Towers that allows us to look
at the noise around a brand and the sentiment behind what’s being said.
The outcome will be a total score out of 100, which makes it easy to
compare results.

I’ll use data from manual and automated processes to track sources that are relevant e.g. the major networks (e.g. Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube) and other social spaces that contain blogs, comments, ratings, reviews, and user-generated content. I can apply a geographical bias for brands targeting particular territories.

Once I’ve gathered the information and given a score (that’ll decide whether a brand is good, bad or ugly) I’ll do my best to make suggestions as to what each brand should be doing to improve and where the brand should be doing it.

So, brands under my microscope have a TV theme. Are these brands really getting involved in social media or can’t they take their eyes off the box?

Contenders:

•    SKY One
•    ITV4
•    ESPN UK   


Sky One   
 
Sky One has a very respectable score, and they appear to be the only contender with a coordinated strategy when it comes to social media. We’d normally expect scores of between 55 and 65 as an average of this industry so Sky is just ahead of the curve.

The majority of their score is made up of sentiment, particularly high around a small number of flagship programmes.

Whilst the noise level could be higher it is respectable.

Verdict = Good 

ITV4
Lack of a dedicated strategy generated an average score. It doesn’t appear ITV in general is keen to grab the social media nettle.

ITV4 might lack the flagship programming of Sky One, and would no doubt covet the latter’s above-the-line budgets. But ITV4 has set out its stall around emotive genres such as sports and classic dramas. Social media can be invaluable for promoting advocacy among shared interest groups and if its content was packaged and marketed more effectively, ITV4’s score could quickly outstrip Sky One.

Verdict = Bad 

ESPN UK

ESPN UK’s crown jewels are the live football matches from the English and Scottish Premier Leagues. It picked up the rights from the Setanta UK fire sale and its ATL blitz seemed to gain some traction with fans. However, a social media strategy seems to have not made it up the agenda yet.

On paper, live football coverage should present a wealth of opportunity but rights issues around content will require ESPN to be creative in maximising its impact across social media channels. Generating awareness and engagement around football is also quite tricky as some of the bigger players like BBC and Sky Sports will have some of the bases covered already.

The ATL message from ESPN was all about being ‘glad to be here’. If they can bring this premise to live on social media, there will be an appetite for interactivity*. They have access to the golden goose, the challenge is now is to make it fly.  

*Those who do not wish to see a feather-themed metaphor should look away now.

Verdict = Bad 

Conclusions
Sky One scrapes a decent score, but there’s work to be done at ITV and ESPN.

The sentiment scores,more difficult to influence in the short term, are holding up so the first objective must be to use social media spaces to generate more widespread engagement.

In the early stages, they should hang their hat on a particular strand or programme and tailor the content to the social space. There should be a consistency in the tone of the messaging and it needs to be punchy to cut through. Once an audience starts to build, and some affinity and trust is established, there will be scope to cross-promote other properties in the portfolio.

Let me know what you think of my measurement tactics, and how you think brands in the TV space are doing in terms of their social media presence…