This week, Social Scorecard is in West Michigan’s largest city, Grand Rapids, just 30 miles east of Lake Michigan, to find out what WXMI is serving on Facebook to make it the most engaged. The secret ingredients are an appetite for food and short, easily digested videos.
WXMI, Tribune’s Fox affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich., leads in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.
WXMI has nearly 2 million total social media actions, accounting for 22% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 43), with more than 8.7 million social actions.
WOOD, Nexstar’s NBC affiliate, led the market on Twitter with nearly 28,000 posts and also led on Instagram with 28,000 actions.
WBFK-FM, 101.3 The Brew Grand Rapids, a classic rock station owned by iHeartMedia, led in actions per post with 189.
Brooks Blanton, WXMI’s news director, credits much of the station’s success on Facebook to a group called the “Snack Pack” — three or four editors whose job is to create “snackables.”
“They recognize the stories that will do well in a snackable version — a short, condensed one-minute version with text on it — and their responsibility is to edit these videos and post them on social media. We just feel that’s more user friendly, especially for so many people that are now on mobile devices and they’re more apt to engage in and share that kind of content.”
WXMI’s all-time most-viewed snackable video was seen 25 million times.
Watch the emotion as this bone marrow donor gets a special surprise. The young man who donated the bone marrow that helped save his life is sitting at the table next to him. (You might want to grab a tissue.) See the full story here: http://via.wxmi.com/FVv2H
Posted by FOX 17 on Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Robert Brenzing, WXMI’s digital manager, says the Snack Pack is usually able to post two or three snackables a day.
“Our goal usually is at least 10,000 views. We are disappointed when we don’t get 10,000.”
“But we often exceed that,” says Blanton, “those types of videos are very popular, especially with younger people who don’t want to take the time out to sit and watch.”
This West Michigan school superintendent spent long hours over the summer painting the halls of his school to save $150,000. "That (money) would have taken away from our kids or the potential for us to take care of our staff." Full story here: http://via.wxmi.com/ACHdP
Posted by FOX 17 on Monday, August 13, 2018
Another recent snackable story was the result of a tip from a WXMI Facebook follower.
“A couple had their wedding and the caterer didn’t show up,” says Blanton. “So this restaurant nearby jumped into action and catered their wedding at the last minute. It was one of those feel-good stories.”
Another segment the station created for Facebook first, which then airs in the newscasts, has exceeded a million views so far.
“It’s called Dining with Dave,” says Blanton. “It’s a restaurant segment where we go feature local restaurants, but it’s not just any restaurant. We find restaurants that have a story behind the restaurant. We go do the food part of it, but we also do the story behind the restaurant. He has become quite popular with our followers on Facebook and our viewers.”
Turks Tavern in Nunica has quite a history…and quite a menu! Check it out!
Posted by FOX 17 on Thursday, July 26, 2018
A team of fanatic foodies opened up The Paisley Pig in Grand Haven. Check it out!
Posted by FOX 17 on Thursday, August 16, 2018
WXMI is very selective about how it uses Facebook Live, says Blanton. But the one Facebook Live that it does regularly airs just prior to the late news at 10 o’clock with the main anchors and the chief meteorologist, and it has yielded impressive news rating results.
Happy Wednesday evening everyone! Annie Szatkowski FOX 17 previews one of our stories tonight about a West Nile Survivor.
Posted by FOX 17 on Wednesday, August 15, 2018
“That Facebook Live is just like having a billboard along the freeway saying ‘watch Fox 17 News at 10 o’clock tonight’. Since we started doing this on a regular basis, we have seen a growth in our audience at 10 o’clock absolutely. I think there is a correlation there.”
The kind of Facebook Live that works for WXMI can be as simple as a fixed camera on Lake Michigan.
Good morning! Here is a LIVE look over Grand Haven
Posted by FOX 17 on Friday, August 17, 2018
“We will have thousands of people that will just watch the waves roll on Lake Michigan or when a thunderstorm is coming into the city, we will pop our tower cam. You would be shocked at how many people will just sit and watch something like that.”
BEAR WATCHThe Westsiders in Grand Rapids, Michigan have a new neighbor who wandered into the city this morning…the bear has been removed and is now being taken "several counties north." https://bit.ly/2rgmQrG
Posted by FOX 17 on Thursday, May 3, 2018
Although Blanton and Brenzing are pleased with the innovations the station has introduced on Facebook, staying one step ahead on Facebook is always on their minds.
“We are always looking for what the next new thing is going to be,” says Brenzing.
“Yeah,” adds Blanton, “where do we need to be next?”