What Brands Can Learn From @TODAYshow in 2014


Social PR TODAY show brand wake up call. Pin, post, nip and tuck.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 11.26.57 PMMy favorite morning ritual is watching the TODAY show and this year I witnessed an inside out brand transformation that included a social media makeover across all three screens.

Just a year ago I was surprised top tier media talk show hosts like Matt Lauer and David Letterman seemed to have a less than savvy handle on social media. It reminded me of how CEOs say they are warming up to social media and beleive it is important, yet the majority are still hands off, with only 5.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter.

Aside from celebrity talk media, many traditional TV hosts referenced social media with an obviously unfamiliar sense and use words like “twittering” or say things like “I’ll have to ask my kids to teach me more about Instagram” or “I don’t have time for the Facebook thing”.

@TODAYshow Social Rebirth

All brands can use a facelift every so often – whether it be a logo refresh or personality remix -@TODAYshow was one of them. The result put NBC’s morning coffee talk exactly where any brand wants to be – newsworthy, engaging, interactive, visual, mobile, social and authentically REAL with personality and a thriving community of brand advocates.

Something traditional, something orange and something new

  • Social Personality – Carson Daly joined TODAY as its’ official ‘social media reporter’ and host of the new Orange Room, a first of its kind in a digital studio.

  • A Social Newsroom Inside a Real Newsroom – Add a hashtag and the #OrangeRoom becomes a social news signal that mobile and social fans can follow for all the latest trending news.

“The Orange Room'” is where the newsroom meets the living room. In this space, we will evolve the way news is gathered and delivered by creating a direct and meaningful relationship with our TODAY audience on any platform,” said TODAY show Executive Producer Don Nash. “Carson is the perfect fit for this exciting new role. He’s passionate about being on the forefront of new media, and has distinguished himself as a socially savvy broadcaster with a unique ability to engage audiences.”

Social PR Tip: A great lesson for the socially inept CEOs who want (need) to have a social presence on Twitter. Idea: Get your own Carson Daly on the senior marketing team, someone that ALREADY has proven influence and is socially savvy versus someone just learning as they go.

  • Trending on TODAY. Meaningful themes wrapped into cleverly branded and trending hashtags, TODAY brings  the viewers and fans into the news story. A perfect lesson for brands using social, TODAY offers audiences the chance to communicate and connect with the show unlike ever before as the morning show features different hashtags such as:

  • #BornTODAY  – featured stories trending around the topic of newborns and asked viewers/fans to join in by sending photos of their beautiful babies with the hashtag #BornTODAY. No more emailing or snail mailing in meaningful birthdays, it’s an Instagram and a tag away from being part of the story.

Social PR Tip: A friendly reminder to all brands —it’s about them not you!

  • #TODAYsunrise  – is an ongoing callout for pictures of beautiful sunrises from the digital waves.


  • #TodaySnow creatively engages the community to share news and pictures in this tweet: Getting ready for the snow? Send us your prep pics with #TODAYSnow.

  • Oh here I am, just hanging with the one and only @kevin - founder of Instagram. Happy 3rd bday, Instagram. He's on @todayshow coming up

    Traditional news anchors transformed social media aficionados – reporting off the air via their personal social media accounts  – With inspiration from Carson Daly’s new media talents, TODAY’s once gawky social media TV anchors are now sharing and engaging with their own social communities giving us behind the scenes commentary and selfies. Amplifying the message beyond the TODAY’’s engagement power and multiplying backed by the power of the influence of the fans and personalities behind the brand.

    • @MattLauer is tweeting about 4 times a month and has a Klout score of 85…Huh? Only 344 total tweets.

    • @SavannahGuthrie is interviewing and sharing selfies with Instagram’s founder. She is tweeting practically daily with a total of 7921 total tweets to date and she has a lower Klout score than Matt, seems not fair.

    • @AlRoker is retweeting sunrises in between the weather reports and boasts a Klout score of 85. Almost 14,000 tweets to date.Why is Matt getting the preferential Klout?

Social PR Tip – Brands of all sizes have the strongest army of brand advocates closer than they might think, with the right direction and structure – employees make the best brand cheerleaders.

  • Social Cross Reporting: Cross-promoting social networks; reporting trends on a brand’s Facebook using Twitter is an effective Social PR content mix that TODAY sets as an example. On Twitter, TODAY tweeted in a message about its most popular posts on Facebook for 2013. https://twitter.com/sarikadani/status/418136595242315776

Other TODAY noteworthy lessons brands can get Social PR inspiration

  • Visualize: Check out http://www.today.com/ Pinterest-like home page that is full of visuals representing a mix of the most recent and trending news. A look and feel that moves away from static websites and gravitating towards the role of brand publishers.

  • Screenshot_1_2_14_10_48_PMShareable Pinspiration: Each TODAY news “board” is easy to share straight from the headline or click through to the whole story. Making it user-friendly to the mobile community and visually appealing to stand out in the social newsfeed.

  • Optimize and Hashtag You’re It: TODAY incorporates a balanced use of meaningful hashtags in headlines. Social media optimization will get you more reach and this is yet another strategy brands can glean from; effectively using hashtags in the headlines to optimize and index news.

  • Be a Social Media Icon: Make social media icons easy to identify, bright, graphic and not overly dominant. A consistent #Fail by brands is “hiding” social media network icons in the footer or making them very hard to find. TODAY shows us how to do it right displaying icons across the header.

  • Mobile-Friendly Matters Most: Cultivating and activating the mobile user is center stage for brands across all digital fronts. TODAY is doing it right, making mobile users a priority with its Mobile App promoted top of the fold on its homepage and easy to navigate from any device. Brands ignoring the mobile movement will begin experiencing an instant business hang up, losing to the mobile friendly competition.

Social PR Tip:  In social media, people – not brands – are the channel. Let’s turn the channel to Social PR this year.

Read more in The Most Powerful Brand on Earth and this article by @Ekatrina in Forbes about finding the brand ambassadors in your company!

Do you have a Social PR tip to share? Do tell!
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