Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Getting Social with Discovery

Each month Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) invites a corporate marketer, social media practitioner or industry influencer to visit our office to discuss best practices and lessons learned.  It's all part of our ongoing professional development program.

Earlier this week, we hosted Gayle Weiswasser, Vice President of Social Media at Discovery Communications.  A one-time practicing attorney, Gayle made the transition to public relations through a specialization in crisis communication, and then shifted her career again to focus on social media.  She helps manage an eight-person team at Discovery responsible for promotion of the broadcasters broad portfolio of programming.

Here are a few highlights from our discussion:

--Discovery's motivation for social participation is to establish deeper connections with its existing fans, thereby inspiring them to spread the word to friends and online contacts about quality programming.  The company also supplements the viewing experience by providing access to unique content via social networks and on its Web sites.

--Similar to the Travel Channel's "T" House social media initiative, Discovery has created a Facebook community for a select set of fans to participate in and support program development. 

--The broadcaster has also been entrepreneurial in its use of social media to support advertiser requirements.  For instance, they developed custom content in conjunction with the "Conception to Birth" program on Discovery Health that was sponsored by First Response.

--Discovery's management measures the ROI of its social media program primarily through audience engagement.  Interestingly, they also consider its impact based on the dollars invested compared with more traditional marketing activities.

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