The numbers prove that the Recording Academy did plenty right when it came to social media surrounding the Grammy Awards (see the chart on pages 24-25 in this week's Billboard Magazine). Heading up those efforts has been Recording Academy chief marketing officer Evan Greene. With a team of three social media employees and a marketing staff of 20, Greene directs a social media strategy that encompasses nearly every online platform. "Our social strategy is ongoing-it's a 365-day conversation, not just a December-through-February approach," he says.
In an interview with Billboard, Greene talks about generating social conversations surrounding the Grammys.
Did your team have specific goals for your social media campaign around this year's Grammy Awards?
I would say our goals were pretty simple: We wanted as broad a viewing audience as possible, and we wanted as many people to be as socially engaged as possible, with as much positive sentiment as we could generate. We wanted to stoke the social conversation, across as many channels as possible. From live streaming on Grammy.com to Grammy playlists on Spotify and Pandora, to Shazam-able Grammy content, to geolocation/check-in through Foursquare and GetGlue, to consistent updates on Twitter and Facebook, to sharing via Tumblr and Instagram, to teams of Grammy bloggers with behind-the-scenes access, our goal was to seamlessly establish a credible voice in as many digital music conversations as possible. Social media allowed the Grammys to be the thread connecting diverse and varied music fans and helping to establish a shared community experience.
Were there any lessons that you learned from previous Grammy campaigns?
Every year our infrastructure gets better, and every year our social strategy gets stronger, and every year our process gets better. So when Michael Jackson passed away a couple years ago, we had a lot of scrambling to do to get in front of the social conversation and be part of it in a meaningful way. This year, with the passing of Whitney Houston, we had the infrastructure in place to be able to more seamlessly have that conversation.
We've gotten sophisticated at monitoring and listening, which means that we are more nimble and can react quickly and elegantly. Rather than operating independently from the rest of our communication channels, social media is now a seamless component of our overall PR and marketing strategy. Social has become an integral component of Grammy.com, so now when something particularly notable occurs, we not only respond, but socialize the conversation and instantly push out across all of our channels.
Chris Brown's performance, Adele's album of the year win and Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Houston generated the most Twitter chatter. Did any of that surprise you?
We thought that there would be a tremendous amount of chatter and conversation about Whitney Houston during the Jennifer Hudson tribute. And what we found was, it was almost silent because everybody was so emotionally connected with what was going on. So you can never get out in front of it and predetermine what people are going to want to talk about. Obviously, it spiked after that, but it was very quiet during that exact moment. It makes sense in retrospect, but we never would've assumed that. It's so hard to be able to gauge what people are going to want to talk about, especially in light of the tragedy that happened . . . The Twitter mentions that we saw were far and away dominated by Adele. And then we saw Rihanna, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Whitney Houston.
Does the tape-delayed West Coast telecast deter from its social aspects?
Going live across the country versus the tape delay... I see the benefits and I also see the downside. I think we just have to make a serious evaluation with our network partner CBS to see what the future may hold for the telecast, especially as digital and social is becoming such a big part of the show.