In Ohio’s capital, Columbus, Nexstar’s WCMH is a million actions ahead of its next nearest competitor on Facebook. The key is to its high engagement? Finding the right stories that everybody connects to at the same time.
Social Scorecard this week visits Ohio’s capital, Columbus, to find out how WCMH, Nexstar’s NBC affiliate, beat all the other media outlets on Facebook actions.
WCMH has more than a million Facebook actions over its next nearest competitor, and the station’s news director and digital manager explain how they accomplished WCMH’s social success.
WCMH leads in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.
WCMH has almost 6 million actions on social, accounting for almost 40% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 34), with more than 15 million social actions.
WCMH also led on content posts with more than 20,000, but was second in actions per post with 294.
WCVO-FM, a Christian Contemporary radio station owned by River Radio Ministries, led the market in actions per posts with 345 on far less posted content, just over a 1,000.
WBNS, the CBS affiliate owned by Dispatch Broadcasting, led the market on Twitter with more than 300,000 actions and on Instagram with more than 65,000 actions.
David Ciliberti, WCMH’s news director, says finding the right stories that everybody connects to at the same time is the key to generating interaction.
Everybody who drives, or has ever driven or been in a car for that matter, can connect to this story from an Ohio highway. The video had more than 2 million views and every user asking themselves, why?
A fear that drivers have during severe weather — power lines falling on your car — led to one of the station’s most successful posts.
Elyse Chengery, a WCMH reporter, went out to a neighborhood where there was a report of a tornado. She discovered power lines had fallen on cars and people were trapped, including a couple on their first date.
“This became this huge, compelling story,” says Ciliberti.
“People just watching this couple on Facebook Live for almost four hours. It was a great way to connect to the local audience. I think it was her most successful post since she’s been here, and the station’s most successful social posts.”
Ciliberti believes Facebook Lives by reporters working a story has a potential payoff to recruit viewers on television.
“Any time you can engage your audience early on, they’ll tend to stick with you to watch it through, and if you continually update those events, you can recruit them to the actual broadcast.”
Speaking of using Facebook to recruit viewers to a station’s newscast, Michael King, WCMH’s digital director, says the station has produced some Facebook content “where we had strong TV ratings that night.”
And that strategy seems to work for WCMH, and not just for news, but for the station’s NBC programming as well, says King. He says those posts generally average in about 70,000 views.
“America’s Got Talent is on our station here on NBC. We’ve got The Voice on. We’ve got some great partnerships with our marketing department and those digital teams for NBC to leverage the content they provide.”
WCMH sells sponsorships for some of its branded content, says Ciliberti, “like the best hot wings or best pizza or best places to hike. Both have performed well with the branded content sponsorship.”
King says news tips, videos and pictures from Facebook users help the station stay ahead in the market.
“By leveraging it on digital first, we associated our brand with the story before our broadcast competitors.”
King says local news is what people are attracted to on all social and broadcast platforms.
“At the end of the day, it’s about providing them a satisfying content experience that they’re going to be able to carry over, not just what they see on Facebook, but on our main websites and on our broadcast platforms as well. That’s the main goal.”
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