It's the second week in February in New York City, and if you work in social media or the digital space, that means one thing: Social Media Week.Growing from a New York-only "unconference" in 2009, Social Media Week now exists in major cities around the world and is expanding its content - including more music technology content this year than ever before.
The Grammys helped kick off this content with a presentation explaining the robust campaign, activities, and results from their digital and social efforts - and they didn't disappoint.
Beverly Jackson (@BevJack), Director of Marketing/Social Media for the Recording Academy, delivered a fact-filled hour-long presentation that covered everything from the launch of their online and offline campaign "We Are Music" through to the social results of the campaign and second-screen conversation about the Grammys.
The first thing to understand about the Grammys' social and digital presence is that it's not something new - they've been working on social-media execution for four years, and like most companies started on Twitter by broadcasting messages without encouraging or participating in the conversation around their brand.
Like many television shows, ultimately the Grammys want a two-screen experience, and it is clear that this goal drove every aspect of their campaign - from evolving Grammy Live to be an interactive, real-time three-day experience online to the evolution of their mobile apps, as well as how their community team interacted with and helped to lead the conversation in the social space.
Jackson explained that Grammys Live kicked off at their Social Media Rock Stars Summit and continued for the next 72 hours, including red carpet interviews, post-award interviews, footage of performances and awards from previous shows, and other exclusive content from events Friday through Sunday. Viewers watching on grammy.com/live were encouraged to interact with the Grammys on Twitter, answer trivia questions, and self-select from a number of content options as activities took place.
Interestingly, when compared to other activities throughout the Grammy Live broadcast time, the Social Media Rock Star Summit had the lowest sentiment of all measured hashtags, which Jackson explained was due to the fact that controversial topics like monetization, rights, and payments were covered.
Speaking of which, even though the Grammy Social-Media One-Sheet included details about five official hashtags, Jackson shared that more than 180 unique hashtags were trending during Grammy week.
This year their efforts drew over 3.9 million explicit mentions from February 12-13. That's a remarkable 81,250-plus mentions per hour over those two days, and far past the volume of any other awards show, as well as major events like the Super Bowl. Additionally, according to Twitter, the Grammys saw a peak conversation volume, measured in Tweets per second (TPS) of 10,901 Tweets - only a few thousand shy of the Super Bowl's new record of 12,233 Tweets per second during the big game.
The behind-the-scenes operation at the Grammys might surprise many people who aren't quite sure what goes into managing the social media activities of a brand, or even a large event.
The show set aside a separate "social media control room", which had five people locked away for the better part of 24 hours (Sunday, February 12), and include Grammy Community Manager Lindsay Gabler as well as four different agencies involved in making their social activities and campaigns come to life. When the live show ended and the tape-delayed broadcast began on the west coast, this dedicated team of people moved their room from the Staples Center to a private room at the back of the official post-Grammy party, keeping up with the monitoring and social engagement even as OneRepublic and other acts played in the background.
The Grammys also reached out to music fans and created a community blogger program. This panel was flown in and put up at the Hilton for the duration of Grammy week, given all-access passes, invited to the pre-tel and given access to all the official Grammy events for the duration of their stay. In return they blogged, Tweeted, Instagrammed, YouTubed, Tumbl'd, Facebooked and Pinned their way through the week. The only guideline? Be respectful.
Like everyone else in the media, Whitney Houston's death brought a tragic dimension to the week for this team. Sentiment in the social space, or the tone of each message classified as "positive" "neutral" or "negative," was overwhelmingly positive the entire week, rarely falling below 95% positive sentiment, she said. However, when Jennifer Hudson took the stage for her Whitney Houston, two things changed. The first was the overall conversation volume. Jackson shared that Twitter literally fell silent when Jennifer started singing, signifying that people were no longer "leaning forward", but "leaning back in their chairs, experiencing the moment."Additionally, sentiment from the messages that were shared during that time dropped from about 95% to 81%, mostly due to messages of sadness shared about the singer's sudden death.
Jackson spent several minutes at the end of the presentation taking audience questions and addressed topics from the tape delay - which is a "CBS issue" -- to where the Grammy performances live online, and whether the artists have the option of posting that content to their own social outposts like YouTube - which they do, and the Grammys works with each artist team to clear the appropriate rights and allow them to monetize through the Grammys posting their performances on iTunes.
A nice cap for the panel came when an audience member asked about paid vs. organic advertising for the Grammys online, and while Jackson shared that they had considered purchasing Facebook ads, they ultimately decided against it and their online presence was "like a brown egg in Whole Foods - all organic".