Social Media

February 6, 2009

There has been a lot of talk about social media, companies talking about using Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. I am going to talk about how my current company uses social media, though I am going to take some liberties with what most people might think of as social media, but I am also going to give some examples of tradition social media. Another way of looking at Social Media according to Wikipedia is User Generated Content (UGC). One of the biggest examples of user generated content for us is our Rate My Space section on our site. Within this section of the site, users can upload pictures of their spaces into 21 different categories. Visitors to the site can comment on the photos and also it them. Photos are uploaded by our visitors every few minutes. Since there are always new photos being uploaded, our visitors come back frequently to check out the new photos to get decorating and/or re-modeling ideas for their spaces. The people who typically uploads photos of their spaces, uploads more than one photo to give multiple views of the room. Visitors will also upload photos of their spaces if they do not like a particular space and would like some help with ideas on how to re-decorate their space. We have also extended this type of UGC content beyond the Rate My Space section of our site. Four our Dream Home sweepstakes, we have My Dream Designs where visitors can upload photos of what is inspirational to them for their dream design or how the HGTV Dream Home has inspired them in their designs for their spaces. To help us promote the dream home sweepstakes and My Dream Designs we started a Twitter account, hgtvdreamhome. These are a couple of things that we have done to try to get visitors coming back to the site and participate in the site.

One of the other social media applications that we have used is a cupcake application on Facebook for our Food Network brand. This application was not only about people creating and sending cupcakes to each other on Facebook, but we also wanted to drive users back to Food Network. We had cupcake recipes on the right hand side of the application to bring users directly to Food Netowork. To see how much activity we receivttp:ed on these links, we added an Omniture tracking code to the end of each URL. During this same time, we developed a Food Network iPhone application. While this is not really a social media application, we used social media to help promote the application. We posted some information on digg to some buzz about the application and see what people thought about the application and if we might need to do some tweaks to it. This was a great way to get immediate feedback.

Where all of these social media applications and/or promotion successful? Each of them had there various level of success. Some where of them were very successful and some of them are moderately successful. Will we continue to spend time in social media? Yes, we will, but we will spend as much time on the applications that did work as well. Though for us, at the end of the day, it is about getting out brand out there and we will continue to use social media to drive more brand recognition.

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