Charting the Industry: Contests Move Fans Beyond ‘Like’ Phase

Discovery Communications, the parent company of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and scores of other entertainment properties, released research findings in June 2012 that underscore the importance of keying in on influencers to drive social marketing programs. Bolstered by access to its 100 separate Facebook pages and almost 40 Twitter accounts, along with a presence on other social platforms like Google+ and Pinterest, the Discovery report, “Moving Beyond ‘the Like,’” notes that nearly eight in 10 Facebook and Twitter users “like” or “follow” a brand, but a smaller subset (28%) are fans of more than 20 brands.


Of course, likes may be nice, but it’s how viewers interact with these brands after they’ve liked or followed that is more important. Asked about how they’ve interacted with brands they follow on Facebook or Twitter, more than half (54%) entered a contest, 42% answered polls, 36% commented on a posting made by the brand, 32% shared a brand posting and 26% posted on a brand’s page or feed in the last month (see chart for details).

Most PR professionals would be envious of these levels of engagement. So PR News asked two social media experts to offer their tactics for moving beyond “the like.”

Priya Ramesh, director of social media strategy for CRT/tanaka, says deep engagement on Facebook and Twitter is about balancing content with push-pull tactics to keep the audience engaged. Two tactics from Ramesh include:

Ask for feedback: Leverage the polling feature to get the pulse of your community on Facebook. Get real-time feedback on products/services/relevant topics by using the Facebook polls.

• Give back: Fans and followers should feel like they associate with a brand that believes in social good, says Ramesh. “By linking a charitable component to Facebook contests, we’ve seen engagement levels increase exponentially,” she says.

For a B2B company, the end goals of engagement may be different, but the idea of making a personal connection is similar to a consumer play. Corinne Kovalsky, director, digital and social media at Raytheon, aims to nurture a niche community of brand advocates who share interests in technology, the armed forces and math and science education. Specific tactics suggested by Kovalsky include:

Take Engagement Offline: Raytheon hosts events and invites followers and fans to get to know the people behind the brand. “We’re having our first international tweetup next month at the Farnborough Air Show outside of London,” says Kovalsky.

Make content great: Raytheon’s new managing editor for digital content is from the AP, and his ability to shape stories has had a big impact on the number of people sharing the company’s content.

Discovery finds that visitors are 2.5 times more likely than visitors to have clicked on company pages on social networks, and twice as likely to be asked for advice about new products. This is why it might be prudent for PR pros to monitor Discovery, and collect ideas to move beyond those likes. PRN


Priya Ramesh,; Corinne Kovalsky,

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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