I need a locksmith. Having never needed a locksmith before I reached out to a friend who works in real estate. She gave me the name a company she uses and I called and got a quote. Then, thinking I was so smart, I called around to local locksmiths for other quotes. What a waste of time. One woman, after giving me the quote asked, “How much do you want to pay?”, I replied that I really didn’t know since this was only my second call. “How much would make you happy?”, she asked. At that point, realizing that that the lock was surely to be put in backwards and upside down I hung up the phone.
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are letting users use their service so they can gather information and suggest a locksmith. If I had posted “I need a locksmith.”, my friends and family would have rallied to the cause and because I know and trust them, I can give their suggestions higher credibility. One of the most important uses of social media is as a recommendation engine.
You have two jobs (in the old local TV model). Number one, tell people if it is going to rain. Number two, bring them into the local newscast to sample the wares. Basically what you are doing is using your good name and reputation to suggest to people, who like and trust you, that they might be interested in the rest of the newscast (only share this with your producer if you are absolutely sure they will get it).
We still have to monetize, and for now, the local newscast is the cash cow. So, while you are busy building these social networks, why not think about your second job. But be careful, you can become a spammer very quickly. You had better be sure your followers are going to be interested in that story (now share with your producer).
This brings up a very dangerous question, but I’ll ask it anyway. Would users be leaving the local TV newscast if it was something they really couldn’t live without? (On second thought…don’t share with your producer)