Grabbing Identity

Last night was a banner night if you’re a Minnesota Vikings fan.  They pulled it together and beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-14.  But, that’s just an aside to my post this morning.

The football game was broadcast by the NBC who has the rights to all the Sunday night games in the United States.  In Canada, while we get the NBC feed from Boston on our Expressvu, media laws indicate that if a Canadian station owns the rights to the show, the Canadian version is shown instead.  Even though I can switch to the NBC channel, I get the feed from TSN which owns the Canadian broadcasting rights.

That’s not a problem.  There are two things that you notice this way.  First of all, the commercials are Canadian and, secondly, the network promotions are for the TSN channel.  It is here that you can see that they “get it”.  While TSN has a website, they also have a Facebook presence and the celebrities that bring the sports news have Twitter accounts.

And why would that be?  It seems to me it’s for two reasons.  First of all, more and more people are turning to Facebook as a place to combine their news and information sources.  Secondly, if you look at the red box, there is a message to “Get the Conversation Started”.  By reaching out and supporting their sector, they bring added value to their brand at what they do best … providing sports news and entertainment.

They’re not the only ones.  Major news sources get it as well.  Sure, they have their main websites, but they also have active presences on Facebook.

The advantage?  Friends, Likes, Discussion Forums, and just drive by viewers of their content all take advantage of this.  At the time of this posting, over 200K people have taken the time to “like” the TSN page.  How many more, including me, just go for the stories and discussions?

With all of the money and the importance of education, what is its response?  Well, education is still debating the value of social media and wondering why the disconnect with its constituents.  In a world where we talk about engagement and the importance of presence, why isn’t everyone exploiting this forum?  Not only does it reach out to the community and offers another publishing space, it does it for free.  It’s just a matter of deciding to play there.

It was this issue that was part of the rationale of inviting the Waterloo Region DSB to present at the RCAC Symposium in December.  They’ve decided to take the plunge and invest time and PD efforts into embracing social media and Facebook as a way of making the connections to their community.

I can understand debating the issues and deciding where to deploy limited resources.  However, there are certain technologies that have proven themselves and will be here for the long run.  The problem is that you only have one chance to grab your brand while it’s still free.  Even in the beginning, if all that you do is configure it so that you have a presence and re-direct to your traditional source, you’re in the game.  Monitor its use and see what the response it.  If you don’t grab your identity now, who will grab it instead of you?

How many times do you hear “Visit us on Facebook” elsewhere?  Isn’t it time your organization could say the same?


links for 2010-12-28