With so many brands still taking baby steps toward participation on the existing social networks, it’s probably a safe guess not many are contemplating an even bigger move…staring their own social network.
Ricki Lake is coming back to television after an 8-year absence. I hope I’ve made your day with that news. But while that’s interesting, what’s even more interesting is that the show is going to launch its own companion social network simultaneously with the show’s debut September 10.
Now why would they want to do that? First of all, they realize participation on social is critical, especially for a topic-driven daytime TV talk show. People have 23 hours apart and away from the 1 hour that the show is on the air, so they need to kept connected to the show during those off-air times if possible.
Second is a realization many media brands are having, which is that they don’t own or control Facebook or Twitter. And because they don’t own them, they can’t sell ads on them and establish them as additional revenue streams. Many have questioned the wisdom of driving viewers and listeners to social networks media brands can’t monetize. For those whose product is content, there’s something that just doesn’t sit well with “giving” that content to a non-owned site.
Does this mean media brands will dump Facebook and Twitter? Not at all. That’s where the people are, 900 million of them in Facebook’s case. But what you will likely see is a shift to utilize the big, established social networks principally to drive users to the owned digital properties of channels and shows so ad dollars can be made off of those eyeballs.
Can Ricki Lake’s show make enough ad dollars to justify the creation and maintenance of their own 24/7 social network? The show’s producers are banking on the fact that it can. Much of that will depend on package deals that combine on-air and digital ads, and how many people will be so into Ricki Lake’s new show they’ll want to sign onto and regularly, actively participate on her social network. Other media stars appear to be in a far better position to start their own social networks. Take Eminem for example, who just became the first person in the world to get over 60 million Facebook Likes. Rhianna’s right behind him, racking up 26,000 new Likes daily.
As for non-media brands, few are selling real estate or advertising on their owned digital properties to outside parties. Those owned sites exist to drive traffic, move product and conduct customer service. For them, Facebook and Twitter can also effectively be used to drive traffic, move product and conduct customer service…and to an existing, active global audience within the Facebook environment. Any attempt to fire up the level of passion needed to motivate a meaningful chunk of Facebook’s 900 million users to sign onto an individual brand’s social network, while noble, may not make much sense.
Let’s see how Ricki does first.