Robert Peston & Andrew Marr style it out on social
This is a post about house style. We protect and police it with the utmost care on air, but do we always extend the same diligence to our social media presence?
Peston and Marr
Working away from the UK recently, I tried to catch up on the Sunday morning politics discussion shows via Twitter.
It’s not the best way to sense the messages hidden underneath the politicians’ nuanced responses but you get the key quotes filleted and turned around pretty fast.
You also get video extracts with a featured screengrab thumbnail which reveal how the two main politics shows do it rather differently.
The Andrew Marr show (BBC) picks shots that showcase his guests, sometimes with presenter Andrew in shot too, but usually not:
By contrast, the Peston on Sunday show (itv) chooses thumbnails that show only the host himself, even when the accompanying text relates to something one of his guests has said:
In social media, as in broadcast output, house style has a place. Consistent, habitual, predictable behaviour helps us express our brand personalities and strengthen our relationship with audiences, just as it does between people.
One of the strongest examples in radio comes from Capital in the UK. Their social media activity is characterised by lots of high quality images, branded videos and GIFs, topped off with a liberal smattering of emoji. They use branded graphics to own occasions…
…and even when an endless stream of audience-generated photos are available, such as during a station event like The Summertime Ball, Capital never posts anything less than a professionally shot photograph or video. Admirable discipline and quality control.
Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 adopts a pithy turn of phrase: arch and wry in few words, but effective ones:
while Absolute Radio regularly solicits listener involvement from its presenters, using questions and votes:
It’s easy to adopt a consistent house style and tone of voice if only one person writes your posts, but if you have a team sharing that work, style rules become just as necessary for social as they are for your on-air talent and producers.
Further, because your social media activity is likely to reach non-listeners I suggest it’s good to be even more disciplined on social.
After all, when you meet new people it helps to be on your best behaviour.
Action point: make a short style guide for your social media activity.