Whilst walking home yesterday I recieved an email to my mobile from the BBC’s Radio 1 keeping me up to date with the latest news on their latest event, the “Big Weekend”. the email invited me to visit their profile pages on Bebo, Myspace, and Facebook, as well as their own website.
As a part of the BBC, Radio 1 would easily have the ability to build its own social network should it choose to do so. Instead it has chosen to make use of the existing channels that its target audience is already using.
Reaching your target market
According to recent research by OFCOM, 54% of people aged 16-24 have at least one social network profile. This is Radio 1’s target demographic, and they are obviously aware of the way that they communicate.
It is clear that a lot of effort has gone into these profiles. The MySpace page is so well customised that is looks like a microsite, and all of the profile contain a lot of links to interesting and relevant content, including videos, photos and podcasts.
Fear of a backlash
Some organisations might be hesitant to embrace this social media for fear of users taking the opportunity to speak out against their product/service. However Radio 1 are so confident in the quality and popularity of what they offer that they are willing to allow people to say what they think about it.
Using customers to promote you
One great advantage of using existing channels over creating new ones is that users who interact with these profiles will themselves be promoting Radio 1. So if you add Radio 1 as a friend on MySpace, or become a fan on Facebook or Bebo, your friends will see this activity on your profile and also become engaged with the brand.
Removing barriers to interaction
Using exisiting channels is far cheaper than creating a bespoke social network, but this isn’t the reason that Radio 1 made this decision. They recognise that to communicate effectively with your target market you have to go to them. By meeting them on their own territory Radio 1 have removed all the barriers to interaction, like registration forms and new interfaces, and are able to connect directly with their listeners.
This use of social media channels by the BBC is a great vote of confidence for these channels, and proves that these are now established modes of communication.
This is a great example of integrated use of digital channels; using email, their own website, their social networking profiles, digital TV and, of course, the radio!