KGBT down in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas is not only leading on Facebook in market 84, but is outperforming stations in markets that are much larger. “We have 332,881 likes on our Facebook page, more likes than some of the stations that are in the top 20, top 30 markets. I’m excited about that,” says Ronald Marley, KGBT’s digital executive producer.
Social Scorecard goes way down to the Rio Grande Valley near the Texas-Mexico border to KGBT, Sinclair’s CBS affiliate serving the Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen market, to learn how it’s staying ahead on social media.
KGBT leads in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.
KGBT has more than 1.2 million total actions on social media, accounting for 42.5% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 84), with more than 2.9 million social actions.
KGBT led the market on Twitter with nearly 36,000 posts and also led in actions per post with 110 on only 68,000 content posts.
KVEO, the NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar, led on Instagram with just over 10,000 posts.
Zoltan Csanyi-Salcedo, KGBT’s news director, says that naturally, in a market that sits on the border with Mexico, issues related to related to immigration and family separation get high engagement on the station’s Facebook.
But Ronald Marley, KGBT’s digital executive producer, says that, in addition to issues like immigration, breaking news also does well, like the armed robbery at a mall jewelry store.
“We were the only station in the market to do two live shots simultaneously on Facebook to provide coverage of what was going on while the police and law enforcement were out there,” says Csanyi-Salcedo.
“We had one feed going from the mall and we had another feed going from a nearby hotel — we had heard a report that the suspects might be there,” says Marley.
“We had those feeds running simultaneously, literally on top of each other on Facebook.”
Csanyi-Salcedo says the presence of so much law enforcement on scene made the story very visual, “so we made it a point to make Facebook Live a key component of our news stories and information, but at the same time using that as a promotional vehicle for our regular newscast. That generated a ton of interaction.”
Another example of how the station uses Facebook Live as a promotional tool for its newscasts, says Csanyi-Salcedo, is a solid hour of Facebook Live during the morning news showing the behind-the-scenes.
“The anchors can interact during a break or during a package with the audience and they go around during the break and talk with the weather guy. They kind of interact and you see everything that goes on behind the scenes. That’s getting a lot of traction. I think that’s definitely helped our morning show ratings. We started doing that before the May book and our May numbers in the morning did really well.”
Many of KGBT’s Facebook Live segments have a clean, stable look because the station often uses its live view connectivity from a photographer’s camera on a tripod instead of a cell phone.
Using Facebook Live to cover weather is another way KGBT is able to generate high engagement. In late June, a major rainstorm caused flooding across the area.
“We sent out a photographer and a reporter, Sydney Hernandez, out to where we heard they were getting huge amounts of flooding,” says Marley.
“She literally was just sitting there showing the flooding. You can see the cars going through the flood waters. While that was happening, I think that viewership got to around about 7,000 people at one time. It was insane. I didn’t even expect that.”
Any new business opening in the area also tends to get high engagement.
Csanyi-Salcedo says the station had made progress in creating revenue from its Facebook page.
“I’ll give you an example. We broadcast the Fourth of July parade and the parade was broadcast by the city of McAllen. We worked out an agreement with them to give us the feed and we ran that through Facebook and we sold that presentation on Facebook to a sponsor.”
Overall, Marley says, even though the station is in market 84, he’s proud of its performance.
“We have 332,881 likes on our Facebook page, more likes than some of the stations that are in the top 20, top 30 markets. I’m excited about that.”