Share Rocket tracks and ranks thousands of social media profiles every day for news broadcasters, and the large majority fall into two categories: main station pages and pages for the individual talents who work for that station. But there is a third type that not enough stations take advantage of that can provide both a substantial boost to a station’s overall performance on social media as well as more sophisticated audience segmentation.
Sub-brand pages are just like they sound, subordinate to a broadcaster’s main social profiles. The most common sub-brand pages you will find widely used in local broadcast are sports, weather, politics, and morning shows. They provide a place for fans to get more content about a topic they enjoy, a place where a broadcaster can stay completely on-message, and a targeted content stream that can appeal to advertisers who would like to sponsor posts or otherwise monetize your social efforts. The best part is, when the staff can work as a team to create and share content on the page, sub-brand pages can be maintained without creating too much more additional work, giving your social team a significant return on effort (ROE).
First, we’ll take a deeper look at the benefits of launching a sub-brand page, then we’ll show you some examples of sub-brand pages we’ve seen that are successful or have found a niche by thinking outside the box.
Benefits of a Sub-Brand Page:
Expand your total audience while de-cluttering your main feed: With most newsrooms now accustomed to churning out content for social just like their own websites, the news feeds for some broadcasters are becoming very busy places, with posts tightly scheduled out to prevent Facebook cutting back on reach. If you find that you’re frequently rescheduling content on the main station account to make room for a certain type of post or a certain type of post frequently outperforms other types of content on the page, those are indications that you may have an opportunity to launch a sub-brand page. Ask followers from the main page to follow the new sub-brand and increase your overall audience on social. In on-air segments related to the sub-brand, you can ask the audience to follow the page and use it to promote other sub-brand specific offerings, like apps or podcasts. With the new sub-brand page established, you don’t have to worry about spamming up the main account with one type of content and you can still share the top-performing posts from the sub-brand pages on the main account to maximize reach (and continue to grow the sub-brand page’s audience).
Get your highly-engaged superfans in one place where you can go into greater depth: Sub-brands can also benefit news consumers. Launching sub-brand pages for a topic like sports or weather allows for those really interested in the content to see more of it, of course, but it also allows the people producing that content to go into greater depth. Explaining the restrictions of the salary caps for professional sports leagues or how global weather patterns are affecting the local forecast may be more than the average follower of your main page can keep up with. But for those who want to really dive into a topic, your sub-brand page can foster a community where you can have high-level discussion and debate in the comments without leaving the audience at large in the dust. Since the broadcaster is focusing on one topic for the sub-brand pages, it is also an opportunity to share content from other sources in a place where you have an audience that will appreciate it (and engage with it accordingly), unlike main brand pages which often only share content from their website or that they uploaded to social media natively. In that sense, it allows sub-brands to become more like shared interest pages for the audience while still attaching the broadcaster’s trusted brand to the community and engagement it fosters.
Better Return on Effort (ROE): By sharing responsibility across your team and empowering key members of departments like weather, you will ease the burden on individual staffers to fill the page and maximize engagement. It takes teamwork to create content for broadcasters to air, whether it is a complete show or a single segment. When you create a sub-brand page, you can have all the team involved with creating content involved with its promotion on social media. From on-air talent to those behind the scenes, everyone can be added as an editor or administrator to the sub-brand page or given access to the sub-brand account. Allowing more people to be involved in the creative process should reduce the strain of trying to keep the page updated and populated with fitting content daily.
Provide a new potential revenue source for social media advertising: At Share Rocket, we believe 2017 is the year advertising on social media (and particularly video advertising on Facebook) will take off. As broadcasters know, not every news post will be appropriate for advertisers. However, it just so happens because of their tighter focus on one topic, many sub-brand pages are a good fit for sponsored posts or other forms of social advertising. Sports, weather, traffic, and lighter news are all among the most valuable content on social media for advertisers.
Examples of Successful Sub-Brand Pages:
KTLA’s Morning News: It’s no secret Los Angeles is a highly competitive media market, which makes the social media impact of KTLA’s morning show all that much more impressive. As of this writing, the pages for the show have about 700,000 combined followers and it’s held a 3.8 Share of the total LA local TV social media marketplace over the last 90 days, according to Share Rocket data. The content on the page is frequently no different than you’d see on the main brand page, but having a sub-brand allows the station to focus on the audience for its morning show alone. There’s likely some overlap between audiences, so the station is effectively doubling up on its reach and engagement while delivering more targeted content to try to get the subbrand’s followers to tune in each morning.
KCRG’s First Alert Weather: A shared sub-brand page is a simple way to get everyone involved in your station’s weather coverage to share responsibilities on social media. Share viewer photos, graphics produced by your team, and forecasts on the page. The sub-brand page has added 4.1 to the station’s overall social media market Share over the last 90 days. It’s simple, risk-free content for potential advertisers and it means you won’t lose your weather page’s social following should your meteorologists move markets.
WITI’s Snow Stick: Who knew you could land a paid sponsorship for a fancy ruler? It doesn’t get much more simple than this. The Snow Stick page features photos and live streams of a measurement tool in the backyard of the station. Sure, in a typical year most markets won’t get as much snow as Milwaukee, but look for ways you could make a simple feature into an interesting social play.
WFTV’s icFlorida: Half local events page, half light-hearted news page, icFlorida is a good example of a way to draw in those who aren’t scrolling through their timelines for heavy news. It also provides a brand separate from the main station to run contests and promotions that can be shared on the main pages.
KCPQ’s Washington’s Most Wanted: While Washington’s Most Wanted is also a show on several stations in the Pacific Northwest, their approach to their social page could be replicated in any market with a lot of crime stories. With more and more law enforcement agencies stepping up their game on social media, it’s easy to share suspect photos and unsolved crime information in one place for your audience. The page also increases KCPQ’s total social audience by about 80,000 followers.
WGN’s Chicago’s Best: Not every station is going to have a local food show like WGN does, but you can create a social presence focused on it if you have a few foodies on staff! Encourage station staff, fans of the page and local restaurants to get involved and submit pictures of mouth-watering creations. Make fan-vote tournaments of local eateries (like “best burgers” in your market). Have theme weeks featuring popular foodstuffs (cheese, bacon – pretty much anything your doctor wouldn’t approve of) with photos, recipes, and even tutorials from chefs on how your audience can make it at home! Share Rocket data shows Chicago’s Best averaged about 60 engagements per post over the last 90 days.
WPIX’s Archives: Do you work at a broadcaster with a rich history and easily accessible achieves? This page is a great example of what you can do with it. According to Share Rocket data, it was the largest sub-brand page in the New York City market over the last 90 days, adding a little more than half a point to WPIX’s total market share on social media. On anniversaries of big news events, the page shares clips from the day, plus old school promos and nods to classic TV shows and stars. Who said throwbacks have to come on a Thursday?
WAGA’s Max the Dog: Max is an adorable puppy who also happens to be a service dog in training! Fans are following his journey as he grows and learns his future occupation. A long-term project (especially one as cute as this) is a great initiative to base sub-brand pages off of and an easy sell for a sponsorship. Max is fairly new to social media and only on Twitter (which usually doesn’t drive engagement at the same rate of Facebook or Instagram), but he’s managed 52 engagements per post in the last 30 days.
WRAL’s SmartShopper: Everyone likes saving money! If you have a penny-pinching segment (or just staff members always looking for discounts), share those on your own sub-brand page. Include an email address on the page where local retailers and restaurants can submit offers, and combine those with deals you find on existing national money-saver pages and you can provide a valuable resource to your community – literally. WRAL’s SmartShopper page adds an audience of about 40,000 followers to the station’s total.
KTTS’s Lost Pet Finder: The social pages for many broadcasters are often sent dozens of messages a week about missing pets, but if they published everyone, their main page would be nothing but those posts. So, what to do? This radio station in Springfield, Missouri, started a page dedicated to them, providing a community service that also happens to rack up shares and engagement.