social tv ratings frank somerville ktvu

We’ve been writing about Share Rocket’s Social TV Ratings™ for a couple of months. From market to market across the US we see very similar patterns. One station typically dominates the rest of the market, and generally speaking the main branded accounts carry the load for a station’s Social Equity™.

Our clients who aren’t dominating ask how they can improve. Our answer is simple. Activate your talent and get them to engage in social. It’s the biggest opportunity for stations to improve their social performance.

Easier said than done, but when your talent connects, it’s powerful.

Meet Frank Somerville. Fox’s secret social weapon in San Francisco.

San Francisco is a market with no runaway leader in social.  ABC’s KGO and Fox’s KTVU are in a dead heat weekly for the top spot in the Social TV Ratings™.  Last week KTVU earned the top spot pulling a 37 Social Share™; KGO pulled a 29.70 Social Share™.   And over the past few weeks, each has pulled a 36 Social Share™ and have an 80 SEI™.

ABC’s owned and operated stations typically dominate their markets by leveraging the large audiences of their main branded accounts. See New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago.  And while ABC’s San Francisco main branded accounts perform well, it’s Somerville who has helped close the gap for KTVU.

Last week Somerville was San Francisco’s top performing individual, earning a 7.35 Social Share™ and is best in the market with a 93 SEI™.  Over the past few weeks, Somerville accounts for more than 35 percent of KTVU’s Social Equity™ and generated more than 1.1 million social engagements on his own, out performing KTVU’s main branded accounts (972,833 engagements) and contributing 52 percent of KTVU’s total engagement.

And it isn’t just Somerville; KTVU’s talent is well represented in last week’s individual ratings, with Steve Paulson (1.07 Social Share™, 79 SEI™) and Sal Castaneda (.78 Social Share™, 75 SEI™) finishing third and fourth. KRON’s Stanley Roberts (2.40 Social Share™, 85 SEI™) finished in second and KPIX’s Veronica De La Cruz (.71 Social Share™, 66 SEI™) made her first appearance in the top 5.

Somerville’s posts aren’t exactly great examples of traditional social best practices. Many of his posts are long; a few of them are downright Tolstoy worthy.  With a simple glance, many social experts might rebuke the strategy, and pontificate about how the ideal length of a Facebook post is 40 characters.

But social is about content, and about connecting with your audience/friends. Somerville is exceptional at both. Reading his Facebook profile is like reading a personal blog. He regularly updates his fans about his 10-year-old daughter and shares his personal stories.  But he also provides rich and poignant storytelling. Consider a recent post (2,686 characters) about a visit he made to San Quentin prison 20 years ago that generated about 3,000 engagements.

I had never been in a prison before. And this is what they tell you just before going inside. “If you are taken hostage, we will negotiate for your release, but we will not exchange prisoners for you.”

Somerville had a post rank among the top 5 pieces of content in the market six out of seven days last week. Great content is powerful.  Imagine what you could do in social with a newsroom full of Somervilles.

Here’s a look at his Share Rocket report card:

social tv ratings frank somerville ktvu

Social TV Ratings for the week of Nov. 17 – Nov. 23, 2014

12 FOX37.0182796,2581,816419,646-10.10%
27 ABC29.7385756,3542,408285,385-78.12%
311 NBC12.8934356,8212,14470,13814.89%
4KRON 412.7736343,9061,79185,84425.26%
55 CBS7.4020207,6891,32435,7386.10%
614 Univision0.191013,69338270-29.13%

Top individuals

1Frank Somerville2 FOX7.3593209,7966993,954-2.08%
2Stanley RobertsKRON 42.408553,21138914,29479.28%
3Steve Paulson2 FOX1.07796,0622991,49031.16%
4Sal Castaneda2 FOX0.787520,3681851,74019.67%
5Veronica De La Cruz5 CBS0.716624,761175832-56.26%

Social Equity Index™ (SEI™): Measures social equity you have built over time and performance — relative peers. Social Share™: Measures a brand’s raw share of the total audience, voice and engagement in a defined market. Audience: Combined fans and followers (Facebook, Twitter) for all profiles. Voice: Outbound posting and commenting activity. Engagements: Total likes, shares, comments, mentions, replies, retweets and favorites for the brand.

Top content, best practices

This post (3,260 characters) about Brittany Maynard by Somerville, generated the most engagement of any piece of content in the San Francisco market with more than 32,000 likes, 2,900 comments and 2,100 shares. It’s a great example of the power of asking explicitly for engagement. The post which details about the scathing letter released by Brittany Maynard’s mother in response to Vatican’s criticism of her daughter’s decision to end her life. If you recall, Maynard was suffering from a Stage 4 lethal cancer when she died.  At the end of the post, Somerville asks:

Where do you stand? And for the sake of this post I will assume that if you hit “like”, it means you agree with Brittany’s mother.

This post hits all of our checklist:

Tells an urgent, compelling, inspirational or funny story?
Appeal to emotion?
Use a photo?
Ask for engagement?

Each week Share Rocket highlights the top performing stations and individuals across the nation’s top TV markets, sharing insights and best practices that are helping the nation’s best social journalists connect with their audience. Next week: Boston.

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