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What is the Right Sweet Spot for Social Teasing of Local News?

socialtvSince the start of 2013, local TV news audiences on Facebook have more than tripled, with 66 million people actively engaging with local TV content in June 2014, according to Shareablee, a social media rankings and analytics company. That’s nearly one third of the US online population liking, sharing or commenting on a post created by a local TV station, according to our data.

But while it’s often said that engagement is the oxygen of social media, for most TV broadcasters, only one thing matters: tune-in. Social TV folks frequently debate how far out from air time to post broadcast teases on Facebook (the platform with the largest potential audience). It’s a choice between teasing further out and reaching more people vs. closer to air and getting fewer people but being at the top of their minds.

Shareablee, which provides companies with social engagement intelligence based on data, had conducted previous analyses revealing posts with calls to tune-in generate higher overall engagement than posts without. In 2013, entertainment TV shows that used “teaser” messaging saw 130% higher engagement on these posts vs. the average. Engagement, and therefore reach on Facebook, was highest on posts within a two-and-a-half hour window of the broadcast.

Local TV news stations also use tune-in posts to promote their shows. But with broadcasts occurring at the same time every night, when is the right time to reach out to audiences? We partnered with local media company E.W. Scripps Co., looking at a mid-sized market on the West Coast, to analyze the effectiveness of teaser posts. Within the market, we reviewed 5 stations, 4 of which employed teaser posts.

To determine the optimum effectiveness, we only examined posts within a three-hour window of the 11 p.m. broadcast during the May 2014 Nielsen ratings period. We analyzed engagement metrics including likes, comments, and shares, looking at 15-minute windows. Only two stations consistently teased the broadcast on social media, but they posted at different times.
Station A primarily posted between 9:30 and 10:45 p.m., while Station B usually posted closer to air time, between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. Stations C and D used the strategy less often, with Station D posting teasers as much as eight hours prior to the actual broadcast.

The results? The most effective time for driving activity during the three-hour window occurred from 10-10:15pm. Just 27% of all teaser posts were posted during this 15 minute window, yet it drove 43% of all engagement. Only Station A teased during this time frame.

Moral of the story: You can drive just as much reach—with a shorter toss—by posting as late as 10:15 p.m. Although posting earlier can increase the overall reach of the post since there are simply more people on Facebook, posting closer to the broadcast reaches people who are more likely to be awake and remember to turn on the TV. For social TV marketers in general, your social media primetime will depend on broadcast time, the type of content you’re promoting, and, if applicable, your market. So… what’s best? Test.

This is a guest post written by Tania Yuki, founder and CEO of Shareablee, a social media  ranking and actionable analytics company. You can follow her at  @taniayuki.

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