How broadcasters can use Facebook better?


MUMBAI: Facebook’s daily active user base in India clocked a whopping 22 per cent growth rate by the second quarter of 2016, which is much higher than the 17 per cent growth rate the social media giant enjoys globally. Naturally, addressing its India-only usage and the issues concerning it is of key to Mark Zuckerberg. From improvement in quality perspective, Facebook is addressing these issues on several frontiers, including guiding television networks on how to grow on FB organically.

“When we speak of partnerships with television networks, it has nothing to do with how they interact with the platform as an advertiser. If networks are able to strategize and track a good campaign on Facebook, then it can grow organically. If networks crack the content code that triggers shareability of a Facebook post, then it doesn’t need any artificial push,”
shared Facebook India’s head of television partnerships, Vishu Ray.

This guidance often includes educating networks on the best practices to increase the shareability of the posts, using all the Facebook tools such as FB 360 degree, instant articles and Facebook Live to the optimal use, and creating engaging content on FB.

While ‘how to use FB’ might sound like a simple thing to explain to television networks, given the fact that the social network is constantly adding new features, some specially meant for this market, the task at hand isn’t that simple.

“We added Facebook live as a feature six to seven months back, but within Facebook Live several new changes are being made. For example, now users can not only go live from their smart phones etc, they can go live through multi-camera setups as well, which also allows one to switch between multiple cameras,” Ray added.

Some eight to 10 news networks have also adopted Facebook chatbots that directly interact with FB users through the messenger to bring them their choice of news.

Ray made it clear that currently Facebook partnerships with television networks isn’t a monetised association. “As of now, we aren’t thinking of making money from these partnerships. The focus is to share best practices, which, by the way, are also available to all networks and publishers through our news blog that anyone can access. We understand that networks have many mediums to consider. May be the other platforms, specially in the video category has been consistently performing over the last few years.

Facebook’s video options being a late entrant means that those coming on board have a higher jump to make in a much shorter time, thus requiring an external hand-holding,” Ray explained.

When it came to paid campaigns on Facebook, Ray pointed out that most of the flow of advertising on Facebook is very self-served and flexible. If the content is compelling enough, media brands especially don’t need to spend too much. The occasional spends that they do, can be carried out through their media agencies.

Facebook is beginning to give special focus on the regional networks as well, said Ray. “The first focus is the southern market as the users are heavy media consumers. Bengali and Punjabi regional channels are another point of focus for the television partnerships wing at Facebook India,” he said, adding that Facebook’s multi-language feature that supports up to 12 Indian languages is a good tool for regional networks to use and generate more engagement.

Having observed how networks are using Facebook in the last couple of years, Ray used a couple of pointers on how networks are going wrong in their Facebook usage.

“Broadcasters so far have been paying close attention to how Facebook has been working for brands, and thinking in terms of like numbers and share numbers. That may not be the best way to look at it from a media brand’s (big or small) perspective who need to ask themselves if a certain post will get people excited,” Ray shared.

“We have also begun to understand that audience are generally put -off by content with a promotional tone to them. Usually, the audience reacts better to informal language, and a more native and conversational posts,” Ray added in parting.

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