Building A Team to Crush Social with Tyler Price
On this episode Tyler Price, Director of Content, Social Media at Turner Sports stopped by to discuss a variety of topics from being forward thinking and taking risks on social to weaving your content into a linear broadcast.
He discusses the joys and challenges of overseeing a large social brand and why it's so important to hire the right people. Whats one he always looks for? People who like to solve problems and find creative work-arounds aka Solution Oriented Thinkers.
Here are the highlights:
[12:05]: Solution Oriented Thinkers and The Importance of Hiring the Right People
It's tough to sell individuals with a lot of experience on taking a role most likely for less money at a company who's still figuring themselves out. So you have to identify unique candidates who maybe don't have your traditional qualifications. We really aggressively started looking for what we call solution oriented thinkers. And what that means to me is like when you present someone with a problem, the way they look at it is not "Well here's all the hurdles and here's why we shouldn't". It's "Here's all the hurdles, here's three different ways we can get around those"
[23:15] B/R Football and How To Overcome Challenges Like not Having Access To Highlights
They're incredible over there. They became a lead social brand around a sport when they didn't own any rights, which is really impressive. It harkens back to the agency days for me where we had to find a way to tie priceline.com into the Super Bowl without having any rights to the Super Bowl. How do you do that creatively, which is a huge challenge.
And when you make something that works it feels really really good. So I think B/R Football did that consistently and they produced a ridiculous amount of content with that formula and it just always really impressed me. That level of creativity is very challenging to make any work. To make great work is even more impressive and that's what they do.
[00:00:15.59] David: All right, guys. He's the director of social media content at Turner Sports, Tyler Price joins me. Tyler, what's going on, man?
[00:00:21.42] Tyler: How you doing? Thanks for having me.
[00:00:22.59] David: Doing good. Joe Rogan was trying to get Kanye West on his podcast. Tyler Price is my Kanye West. I finally have him on the show. We're doing it, I love it.
[00:00:31.16] Tyler: That's such a high compliment to me about six months ago.
[00:00:34.47] David: Yeah, exactly.
[00:00:35.38] Tyler: Because I was so team Kanye through everything. Now he's just ... He's almost ...
[00:00:40.52] David: It's tough, man.
[00:00:41.28] Tyler: Even for me it's tough to defend the man. But I'll take it, I'll take it.
[00:00:45.54] David: I always start the show off with a random question, kind of an icebreaker, and we will keep it in the NBA, I know you and I are big NBA guys. LeBron calls himself the GOAT, this is one of the first times I think of an active player has called their self the GOAT. Michael Jordan wouldn't even dare do that back in the day. Where do you have LeBron ranked, all-time?
[00:01:05.04] Tyler: That's a great question. I think ... well, I first started to say like I had no problem with the him calling himself the GOAT, and I think it speaks to generationally how we talk about that greatest of all time. I think it's amazing that he did it while he's still playing. I would put LeBron at number two.
[00:01:30.48] David: Interesting, okay.
[00:01:31.56] Tyler: I grew up right ... like my first memories of Jordan really are come back Jordan, but I grew up in the Jordan era. I mean, there's something special about that for me. So I don't know if I'll ever put him past there. But ask me in six, seven years when LeBron is done and he's played with his son and won a championship with his son, then I might have a new evaluation of it.
[00:01:54.02] David: Yeah, I'm with you there too. I think he's definitely top 5. I think the problem is with the new rules and the defensive changes, I think the points and the rebounds, everything like that are just being skewed. You're seeing what Russell Westbrook is doing, it feels like point guards are able to get a lot more rebounds so there's stats. So a lot people will bring up his amazing numbers, and I'm a Lakers fan, listen, I love it, but that's skewing the numbers a little bit in terms of looking back at history it looks like.
[00:02:20.00] Tyler: Yeah, and when iTest has to be a part of this, which makes it really tough to evaluate generations, right? But I will tell you there's ... I'm blessed to work in an industry, in the space, where you get to see a lot of cool sporting events. There's something still very special about seeing him on a basketball.
[00:02:36.28] David: Yes, when he put his shoulder down and he goes the rim. Nobody ever is stopping him.
[00:02:39.47] Tyler: There's nothing like it.
[00:02:40.56] David: Yeah, exactly.
[00:02:41.37] Tyler: Yeah, it's pretty cool.
[00:02:43.29] David: This actually is something I've been thinking a lot about, and I thought it was super interesting, so we had the decision with LeBron, and then he obviously goes back to Cleveland with the SI article. He then does something interesting that I don't think a lot of people talked about, he controlled the narrative a hundred percent, he didn't need the media at all, there wasn't a press conference in El Segundo at the Lakers, he literally ... the first I think video of him talking about the Lakers was on his platform, his own platform that he owns.
[00:03:17.13] Tyler: Right, they put a press release out.
[00:03:19.32] David: Yeah, with Clutch Sports, but then uninterrupted I think was the first time that he said anything. And then of course every press, blog, TV show then quotes the LeBron owned entity. Are we getting into a place where players can completely control their narrative and eventually work it into a place where you don't need the media if you're big enough? Because he's starting an empire that's pretty incredible. The GOAT statement was on an own platform on ESPN Plus.
[00:03:48.00] Tyler: Right, no, it's a great point. And I think it's a good place to be in, honestly. Like, I am in the camp of like as we continue to evolve it just seems to be that the playing field is evening out, right? So then great content can rise to the top. And it's not who has more leverage, who has more distribution. It really is truly becomes a content play. And yeah, I think we're getting there. I think the difference is that League IP still matters, there's a level to this that no matter what you can do ... If you can't show the highlight, if you can't show the play, there still becomes a certain limit to what you can do. But I mean, I'm for LeBron owning it.
And I think what you'll see moving forward I hope is that entities with league rights collaborating with some of these player first content creators, and bringing those two together. Not so much a competition between the two to own content, but a way to allow players to lead the conversation and team with the entities who have the distribution rights to create even more powerful content.
And it's something that we talk about here all the time is let's not shy away from what these players are doing, but let's embrace it. How do we support it? How do we create platforms for them to continue to create as well.
[00:05:07.11] David: Yeah, and I think the difference, and I want to get into your background a little bit too, but there's one last thing on that, is the difference with the NBA and I think what it's made them so global and just impressive on social is their players. I mean, Harden and LeBron and Westbrook and whether they're dancing to Drake's latest music or they're selfing or whatever, they've found a way to use their biggest influencers which are their actual players on the court. And I've talked about on this show before, it's a little difficult with NFL when they have helmets and it's a little more hard to kind of reach out and touch them.
[00:05:37.14] Tyler: Yeah, you can't see that face.
[00:05:39.20] David: But the NBA's found an amazing job I think, and I think you're right in the thick of that to give the voice to the athlete and let them kind of do free marketing for you if you will.
[00:05:49.27] Tyler: Yeah, they're a great partner in that, and they and they really do push and it comes from top down, right? I mean, we've heard Adam Silver talked about the snacks in the meal and embracing social and being okay with as much distribution as we can get. And that I can ... I think you can see it kind of leading to players too, and like go ahead, explore, experiment. And all it does is make that league more and more relevant.
I was reading an athletic article about podcasts and sports podcasts, and the most popular sports podcast our basketball podcasts, which is strange because football is still the dominant sport from a rating standpoint.
[00:06:28.17] David: It's global.
[00:06:28.29] Tyler: Yeah, but when you get into the digital social space, the conversation really seems to focus around basketball. And I think a lot of that credit goes to the league in the way they've approached it. And that starts to pull in you our audiences, and it feels like I'm happy to be a part of something that seems to be on the right side of the wave that's been moving forward.
[00:06:47.18] David: Yes, hundred percent. I want to get into your specific story a little bit, because obviously you've been director of content at Turner now for the last two years, so you've been a part of a some of the biggest events in sports. But before that for five years you were over at Relevant 24 as a partner, so I would love to kind of just hear your career story and what kind of led you to Turner?
[00:07:07.41] Tyler: Sure, yeah. I mean, so I started at Relevant 24 ... Oh, God, five years, that's crazy. But we started that agency probably little too early quite frankly. It was an agency focused on creating social content for brands, and really in the reactive space, right? I think everyone remembers the 360 iOreo dunk moment, we were trying to do that stuff maybe a year before. And once that moment actually happened is when the business really took off and brands started seeing value in creating that type of content. And it was a great exercise for us in finding things that are seemingly unconnected and connecting them in a fast-paced environment.
We grew that business and worked with some major partners out there pretty rapidly over those five years, and one of the final partners while I was there ended up being Turner Sports. And I worked with my current boss here, Morgan Diwan, as she was starting to build this team internally here and carve out a place for social within the walls of Turner, and she did an incredible job getting all the resources necessary for this to be successful. And from an agency standpoint we worked with them to help them start to generate that content and show them how to quickly turn out some content.
And then R24 went through an acquisition, it has since kind of rolled up into some of the larger agencies, part of that publicist network. And that time it was exciting to me to go work in sports, I had talked to Morgan about it in a little bit.
[00:09:00.49] David: Morgan Diwan by the way one of my favorite humans, so just put that out there.
[00:09:03.41] Tyler: Oh, incredible. And I mean, what you said like I said she built this amazing infrastructure here that when I came in two plus years ago now, like it was just all the pieces were here to really get going and get moving.
[00:09:17.12] David: Well, I think what she did was really impressive. And even starting when I met her like four or five years ago, she was like at the social media manager level, but she almost ... I look at her as ... it was a start-up business she created inside Turner, and it's amazing what she's done and bringing you on board, but just that whole infrastructure from five years ago has really turned into best-in-class.
[00:09:39.10] Tyler: Yeah, and what we're able to do here as a result of that early buy-in from all stakeholders at Turner to say that this is not a "and social" type thing, it's social as a part of our content process. And they need to be a part of it from the get-go, and it just provides so much freedom and ability to try new things and staff appropriately, and all the things I think other social teams struggle with, here at Turner it's really been nice to feel supported in that way.
[00:10:11.16] David: And even just being an NBA geek like what inside the NBA has done, every everybody's ... I mean, I think the closest probably is like Fox's kind of done it with Arod and that whole crew a little bit in the baseball sense. But everybody's striving to be that show, and nobody has been able to do so. And obviously there's personalities there but I think also the social element and getting those clips out and making sure you have personalities that can extend that narrative outside of just the post-game window, that's a huge thing. And credit the David Levy and all them as well, but that seems like a huge part of the growth as well.
[00:10:49.02] Tyler: Yeah, I think what's interesting is our challenge is how do we extend what ... I would challenge anyone to argue me on it, but how do we extend the voice of the best sports broadcast show on television?
[00:11:06.32] David: 100%. If not the best television program on television.
[00:11:10.15] Tyler: Yeah. And how do you bring that into social in a way that ... Listen, we can't try and redo what happens on that set because it's so organic, right?
[00:11:18.10] David: Yes.
[00:11:19.34] Tyler: It's produced in a way by Jeremy Levin and Tim Carly that sets them up to let those guys really drive. So it's a fool's errand to try and recreate that. But how do we extend it, and how do we create content that mirrors the tone of that but also is at the level that it's at? It's a super fun challenge to have, but that is the challenge of NBA on TNT social. And it's taken us a little bit, but I'm really proud of where we are and we have some great, great content creators on the team who really understand that voice and understand the guys, and to the point where it gets Shaq and Chuck and Kenny excited to participate now too, because they see such an extension of them as well.
[00:12:04.14] David: Yep. So you and I, you came out and we grabbed some drinks and some dinner, and I think I want to really get your thoughts on this because it was great the way you broke it down. Really about solution-oriented thinkers, and as we talked about the team and how you get these like-minded individuals that are talented and make sure you guys reached your ROI and reach your goals, I love for you just to preach on that a little bit, because I loved how you broke that down when we met a few months back.
[00:12:32.45] Tyler: Yeah, I mean, it really comes from a hiring strategy from the early on in the start-up space for me, right? At R24 we didn't really have ... we talked to a lot of talk, those first four years we struggled with a vision and where this is going to be. So it's tough to sell individuals with a lot of experience on taking a role mostly for less money at a company who's still figuring themselves out. So you have to identify unique candidates who maybe don't have your traditional qualifications.
[00:13:05.44] David: Right.
[00:13:07.00] Tyler: So we really aggressively started looking for what we call solution-oriented thinkers. And what that means to me is like when you present someone with a problem it is the way they look at it is not, well, here's all the hurdles and here's why we shouldn't ... It's here's all the hurdles, here's three different ways we could get around those. And I think you really can ... It takes time, but you can start to identify those people in the way they attack problem, and those to me no matter the qualifications, no matter what they've done before, those are the type of people you want to surround yourself in.
Especially in our space, because the skill sets change so much, and like you come in and your job is to clip highlights, and then two weeks later, hey, the highlights rights change, so now we need you to do this. "Well, I don't know that." Okay, well, let's think; let's figure out how you're going to learn. You know what I mean? So the people that can do all those types of things in our space are the most important hires that we can make.
And again, credit to Morgan in large parts, she built a foundation of people here that had that, and then since I've been able to join the team we've been able to add a lot more of those folks to the team. And it's been great.
[00:14:24.45] David: I think especially you mentioned in our industry things move so quickly, I mean, you could walk in one day and say, "Hey, LeBron just score seventy, Jordan just sold the Hornets, and Westbrook just got traded." And then like, "Okay, wow, let's figure this out." And I think to your point ...
[00:14:41.37] Tyler: Yeah, and we have one designer on staff and one video guy, but we need seven pieces, what are we going to do? Guess what? Designer go watch a YouTube tutorial about how to put motion to your pieces because you got to handle that. I mean, it's that type of environment that really I think develops some really good talent.
[00:15:01.44] David: Yeah, and I think if you don't thrive in that situation or say like, "Okay, that's a lot, but let's whiteboard this out, let's figure out how we can get it done," then (a) that could be toxic from a culture standpoint, but (b) you just won't last that long in this industry.
[00:15:15.06] Tyler: Not in our case. Yeah, not in this case.
[00:15:16.30] David: No, and that's fine.
[Unclear statements/cross talking 15:19]
[00:15:18.14] Tyler: Yeah, exactly.
[00:15:22.13] David: So for Turner Sports as a whole I talked to Emma Mae a lot about this, I talked to Morgan as well, you guys don't have a really consumer-facing brand the same way @ESPN does in terms of Turner Sports. You guys really on the Bleachers, on the NBA on TNT, on those secondary accounts. But what from an ROI standpoint what are the main things you guys are looking at across social accounts and just kind of a vision overall for the department?
[00:15:48.21] Tyler: Yeah, I mean, listen, there's monetization happening on our platforms, we built massive audiences so that ... we are looked at as a business unit for sure. There's a full second half of this team run by Matt Wickline who does an incredible job that really focuses on how do we drive revenue. But for my focus really is how do we learn new ways to engage existing fans and new fans through the content that we produce. And then how does that inform the other content initiatives within inside Turner?
Craig Berry who's the chief content officer here does an excellent job at pushing all content teams to work together to share learnings in order to inform decisions, not just in your space but in everyone else's space. So I really do take a lot of pride in the fact that we are a Test Kitchen in a lot of ways for the linear product, for digital experiences, and we have a freedom to try new things. And then really measure success on - did it have an engagement spike around this specific content initiative? Does it have sustainability? All those types of things, and then share those learnings out. And that's really our role, which is a really exciting space to be in.
[00:17:15.58] David: What metrics are you looking at more than ever, maybe on a daily or weekly basis that you're constantly tracking. And also from a comparative analysis standpoint are you looking at competitors in the space, seeing what they're doing, or do you just kind of focus in on what you guys know that'll work?
[00:17:31.58] Tyler: Yeah, I mean, listen, we're always looking over the fences, right? But it's just it's ironic that the biggest house on the block is Bleacher and they happen to be part of the family, right? So we work very closely with them and share learnings with Kenny and the team over there at Bleacher, and so we benefit from that quite a bit.
So the competitive stuff is not a huge driver for us, but two things we look at - like when we were evaluating whether or not we think a new piece of content worked we look at engagement rates. That to me is the truest way to say whether or not someone liked this. And then when we're looking at - did we attract new people? We look at audience growth. And we try and measure content initiatives against those two things.
Views are such a complicated metric to evaluate; it's not huge part of what we're doing. But we think engagement is the purest way to say whether or not this content is working. And I recognize that we are super lucky in that that's the type of KPIs that were held to, because it allows us to be purely creative in a lot of ways. And there are certain instance where there are certain partner initiatives that take precedent over just chasing engagements and stuff like that, but that's how we evaluate our content.
[00:18:54.35] David: Love it. What is the common mistake that you see other brands making in our space?
[00:19:01.18] Tyler: I don't know if everyone at Turner would agree with my following statement, but ... Here's what I'll say, I think there is a fear or concern or apprehension that too much content or content within the live window gobbles up eyeballs from linear broadcasts. I think at Turner we have incredible freedom to make the right decisions along that space, and I do think I see competitive sets elsewhere, it seems from the outside perspective that there may be shackled a little bit more in that sense. We don't hold back, we believe that the more you can reach fans in the game window the more inclined they are to tune in to a game. Obviously you know this - there's no way to correlate those two things yet. And people have tried 8,000 ways, but you really can't do it.
So we continue to push and try new things and let fans know that we're on right now, not just on TV, but TNT is on. If you want to catch this game, you know where to go. Because we don't really have a figure that what we're going to do is going to stop someone from tuning in to watch Charles Barkley. And that's not something that we really worry about.
And on the NBA TV side too it is such a dynamic product coming out of NBA TV, that we feel confident in the ability to take bits and pieces of that to drive people to the larger piece.
[00:20:45.18] David: I've noticed over the last year, and it may be in the last two seasons, but especially with like the post-game, so you guys are getting those segments up immediately as they're happening. Did you guys have to kind of fight for that, was that always kind of the goal? Because again, you're talking about a little bit of a conflict of interest where you have ad sales, you have Neilson, you have linear tuned in but you also want to get this content that you own in the hands of the fans immediately. So have those always been kind of discussions that you guys have had to have?
[00:21:16.37] Tyler: Oh, yeah, and they're ongoing discussions. I mean, there's probably every two weeks there's a little bit of a pivot and a change and a discussion, and we have great partners on the linear side who get it and understand. But they have obligations too, and so we have constant dialogue around it.
I think at the end of the day we believe that we are truly driving awareness whether it's measurable or not, and the more fans that we can touch the more likely they are to come and watch. And we truly believe that, and there are pivots, and will pull back, and maybe next year you'll see less and it'll be ... it's a group think here for sure. But we feel confident in the way we approach it now, and until the algorithms change in two weeks we'll continue down this path.
[00:22:05.00] David: I belabor this point on this show, but I mean you say we think that works. I think it's a fact, I mean, you look at NBA and you look at baseball, and baseball has obviously tried to corral all their rights and try to monetize as much as humanly possible, and it's affected that game tremendously on a global level and also just people, pop culture, and generationally don't really care what's going on with a lot of those, at least a broad sense in terms of that.
So I love what you guys are doing with the NBA as a whole, just like get the content in the hands of the fans, and let them do what they wish with it type of deal.
[00:22:40.15] Tyler: Yeah, I mean, I will say I feel very lucky to be partnered with the partners that we have, and it allows us a lot of creative freedom. And outside the NBA we work with the PGA of America who's been really, really good from PGA Championship, from a Ryder Cups standpoint. The NCAA they're fantastic during March Madness which is a huge, huge social moment and we do run that account for the entire year, so that's been a great partnership. We're really lucky to have really good progressive partners. And so that allows really great creative freedom here.
[00:23:16.39] David: You and I have kind of talked in texts and things like that about VR football, I know you and I are big fans of what they're doing. Just that being the aggregator of content becoming the hub, utilizing user-generated content, I'd love to get your thoughts on why you like what they're doing and why you kind of look at them as doing a great job with the rights ...
[00:23:39.31] Tyler: Yeah, I mean, they're incredible over there. I think what VR football did without any rights was a feat, like I don't think you see that really from other entities around sports that they don't have rights. They became a lead social brand around a sport where they didn't own any rights, which is really impressive.
Now with the addition of Champions League they do have that, and they're figuring out ways to leverage that and I think they're being really thoughtful with that out of the gate, which is great, so that they don't lose their true identity, but that's it. That's ... like how do you ... It harkens back to the agency day for me where we had to find a way to tie priceline.com into a Super Bowl without having any rights to the Super Bowl, and how do you do that creatively which is like a huge challenge. And when you make something that works it feels really, really good.
So I think VR football did that consistently, and they produced a ridiculous amount of content with that formula. And it just always really impressed me, like that level of creativity is very challenging to make any work, to make great work is even more impressive, and that's what they do.
[00:24:53.23] David: Well, and that's ... And I know you've heard this a lot in our industry, and I think that's the most frustrating thing I hear is yeah-but, yeah, but Bleacher has like 900 employees, yeah, but they have access to highlights. Like, VR football is the perfect example like, okay, so what's your point?
[00:25:11.50] Tyler: Yeah, and they built it so much so that they were able to use that as now a lead brand to support the biggest soccer tournament in the world.
[00:25:20.50] David: Yeah, they built the foundation so now they can put gasoline on it now that they have the rights.
[00:25:26.20] Tyler: Yeah, what Dave and that whole team has done over there, it's great to have them in the family, we share and learn a lot from that side.
[00:25:34.33] David: All right, so getting back to NBA social a little bit, I would love to get your thoughts on just best way to use talent. And you guys have a lot of talent internally on the NBA TV side but also with Barkley and Shaq, there's obviously the PR element where you don't want to ask these guys too much so you kind of have to politicize it a little bit, but what have you seen work internally for you guys and what do you think just the NBA as a whole is doing better than most of the other leagues?
[00:26:02.36] Tyler: Yeah, for us, for internal talent I think we try and focus on put them in a place that they would naturally be, right? Don't force it, don't try and have them do something that just doesn't line up with what they would already organically do. And if you do that you get buy-in from them, and you get better content on the other side, right? And Shaq is great for us because Shaq is social, and Shaq fits in the Shaqtin a Fool space, and doing these funny pranks and viral videos. But if you tried to do that with Ernie Johnson it would look so uncomfortable and it's not Ernie. But Ernie is great in a heartfelt or a deep dive or that type of space.
So I think it's about being strategic with the type of opportunities you bring to them, and being respectful if it's something that they don't feel is quite right for them. I think across the board you see sometimes, well, why'd you ask that analysts to do that, that seems weird? You know what I mean? Stuff like that. And again, we're blessed to have these great personalities.
Chris Weber is another good example of it. KG is a great example, like putting those guys in the right place they can give you really, really great stuff. Reggie Miller incredibly good on social, and we love when he participates ... But I wouldn't ask Reggie to do something and then go to Kevin Harlan and ask him to do the same thing, right? So you just want to make sure that you're putting the right ask in front of them, and then we have an incredible talent department here who really helps us guide that decision-making process. No, that's Tara August, and Sarah Phillips works with us directly. And they do a great job there in helping us out and making sure that we're bringing the right tasks to those individuals and setting everyone up for success.
[00:27:52.24] David: I think you mentioned a few things that seem simple when you're kind of knee-deep in it, but not a lot of people look at, like your content needs to be genuine to the audience and genuine to the talent that's participating, you need to be looking at engagement rate and how your content is relating to your audience, and also am I growing in my audience at the same time, like those are three I know seem like simple things but those are three things I don't think a lot of people put up on the whiteboard and just look at every day and make sure that they're striving towards.
[00:28:18.37] Tyler: Yeah, and again, like I talked about that all the time back in our agency days, right? The issue we ran into always back then is that you need a certain volume of content to make insight-driven decisions, right? And a lot of brands, bandwidth-wise, accrual, or whatever reasons it's very difficult to produce that much content. We're super lucky in that the process here is a little bit more open in that we can produce as much as we can produce, and that allows us to evaluate and pivot and A/B test and do all the things that you want to do to create a more effective content program, because the volume is there.
And the other side, so [unclear 29:06] mentioned overseas our sales, I oversee the content, and then Neelam oversees our insight, Neelam Moulton-Donny, and she does an incredible job working with us to say, "Hey, here's the six things we're going to look at this month. Please make sure your content lines up to that. We'll come back to you in a month and we'll make three recommendations off it moving forward."
[00:29:24.14] David: That's awesome.
[00:29:25.20] Tyler: And we create this really, really comprehensive playbook that has served us quite well.
[00:29:32.59] David: What's been the best example ... I want to get into branding content side of things, because I know you've worked on it a ton in your previous role but also it's a big part of your ROI. What comes in mind if I say the best piece of branded content that's worked really well with your accounts and you thought this was kind of a homerun on all fronts?
[00:29:51.38] Tyler: It's great. I mean, the one that pops to my head is something we did for March Madness with Wendy's. It was a watch party which are pretty common in the space now from a live production standpoint on social, but we did this watch party from a suite at the Final Four. And we produced it live on-site with some college basketball influencers, watching the games along with people with subtle integrations and product and food and stuff like that.
And what it did I think really well, and follow-up discussion would be with the Wendy's client, but I think what we heard from them is it felt very natural, right? You would eat Wendy's while you watched the game, and that's all we had the talent doing. And the product was there, there was some signage but it wasn't over the top. And then the other part of it is that that brand is so good on social that involving their tweets in their brand messaging into the show felt very natural, because it's what they would be doing anyways if the show wasn't happening. That's gold, right? It's tough to strike that every time but that really ...
[00:31:02.18] David: One thing on linear too that you guys did with the inside was Fitbit. I don't know if you remember this, but, I mean, that was like the most incredible use of making fun of Chuck and him not getting action, using the producer in how many steps he's taking, and I will integrate Fitbit, that's the type of stuff like I love. Because it just works with the narrative, it's just it's great for Fitbit because I don't think fans outside of us in the industry even understand that is a paid placement type of deal.
[00:31:32.37] Tyler: Yeah, it's a great point, and what's amazing it's amazing to have that type of branded content leadership in the building, because we look at how they do it organically and we say ... so no problem comes across or like, "Ugh, how are we going to integrate this?" You know what I mean? Like, again solution-oriented thinking, like if they can do it with Fitbit and they can do it with hotels.com and they can figure it out on linear and make great content out of it, like we can do that on social too.
[00:32:01.31] David: Yes.
[00:32:01.57] Tyler: And I think that credibility allows us to have a great partnership with some of these brands to say, "Trust us, we know this will work, and this will work, and this will work."
[00:32:10.24] David: And not to go on too much of a tangent, but I think for us at STN too like the we've just really looked at television, and that's kind of ... I mean, television has set the model for social in a way, like when we talk about branded content like that and even getting down granular to production schedules and calendars and rehearsals, and all those things that were set in stone kind of on the linear side of things, now is kind of being on the social side, you have to have rehearsals and meetings and analytics and looking at data and all that stuff is becoming more and more prevalent in our world.
[00:32:43.49] Tyler: Yeah, and what you're seeing is instead of these branded content initiatives coming in as platform specific, they come in as these large packages, right? And they say what can we do on linear, digital, and social together? And how do all those feel cohesive? So that allows us to really leverage some of that great infrastructure that exists on the linear side and bring it on to our channels. And we get to kind of play in the bigger sandbox which is great.
[00:33:15.39] David: That's awesome. You guys have figured that out too and I think from the top down you could tell from a cultural standpoint you guys got it early on in the process, because five years ago, four years ago people were still not even like sold on the fact that we should have more than one person on social.
[00:33:30.58] Tyler: Correct, yeah.
[00:33:31.37] David: I think a lot of TV networks don't get that, they have these multimillion-dollar studios, they have these gorgeous graphics in a million years they would never have Times New Roman font on a lower third, but for some reason it's okay on their Instagram where there probably are more eyeballs on that than there are on your linear product, like that's the shift that I think we're still waiting for industry-wide.
[00:33:53.21] Tyler: Yeah, it's been great, and it's again I think a real focus of ours over the last year specifically is how do we create mutually beneficial content franchises between linear and social, right? So create a franchise that needs TV to be successful and need social to be successful, and bring those together, and then you're building content brands rather than something for TV or something for social.
So we've done that with the rebrand of Shaqtin, that's now exclusively driven by voting on Twitter. We've done that with an NBA TV franchise called courtside certified that fans nominate and vote for the best fashion of the week and then it's paid off on television. We do that with a segment called ask inside that uses IG stories for people to ask the guys for advice. So it's an initiative internally that everyone really has bought into, and it's created really good content which means we're able to do more and more of it.
[00:34:55.42] David: Well, let me ask you a question, if you were dating a girl for two weeks and the holidays were coming up, do you buy her a present?
[00:35:02.15] Tyler: I think KG's advice in that was amazing.
[00:35:06.36] David: Yeah, exactly.
[00:35:08.31] Tyler: And they all answered it so well, and then Ernie just dropped the hammer with the dump and then come back.
[00:35:14.29] David: In your role what's the one thing that you wish you could do more of.
[00:35:17.32] Tyler: Oh, wow. This sounds like a cop-out, but like I just feel so lucky at the timing of all this, again, at what I walked into, the talent of my team that like we are continued to ... we continue to be afforded more opportunities. Our space is growing and we're able to reach out and help other groups from our learnings, so I think we're really happy where we are. I think we're excited about building more brands, content brands; we're excited about building more franchises that live in multiple distribution areas and are not exclusively social. But we're doing that, so I don't know if we want to do more, we're just that's the space that we really feel like we're going. And it excites me and the team.
[00:36:16.32] David: Let me ask you this, and you don't like break down all the names and stuff, but how many people on your team and like how many people are dedicated to social exclusively on Turner Sports? If you guys are going to have a meeting about the new vision for NBA on TNT next season, who's the main people in the room and who are you CC'ing on that email?
[00:36:37.30] Tyler: There's a lot of people CC'ed on that email because it reaches out beyond social, right? Like, that's a brand that lives, but exclusively to the social team I have 17 individuals on my team, and then those two groups on the left and right I talked about are about four and five, then obviously Morgan's overseeing ...
[00:37:03.32] David: So 17 cutting content and creating that specifically for social?
[00:37:07.21] Tyler: Yeah, content creators, we'll call them, but they have different verticals, right? So we break them up between programming, who do the clipping and make sure that everything is distributed at the right time and really are the front line of the feeds. Then we have creatives who are designers and VFX artists who do the short form video, and then we have a production team who's doing that long-form or live shows, that all kind of sit in the content creator space. And that's my team, there's some really, really talented individuals on that.
But again like we ... like a lot of the resources in that production team are loaned out to TV at times. And so exclusive to social, no one, we help out wherever we need.
[00:37:51.22] David: Like content is content internally.
[00:37:53.13] Tyler: Yeah, that's right. It really, really is.
[00:37:55.05] David: Yeah, that's awesome. All right, so kind of a couple rapid-fire questions for you, but I will ask you this loaded question that's probably impossible, but I'll ask it anyway - How do you see social and just reaching your audience at Turner and overall in our industry changing over the next three to five years?
[00:38:15.30] Tyler: I'll go hot take, I think 5G has a huge impact in potentially bringing back live, right?
[00:38:31.04] David: This is good. I don't think enough people talk about this. I love this, okay.
[00:38:34.31] Tyler: Live I think in the last year has kind of been poo-pooed, and it's not supported in the algorithm, and all that type of stuff. And that's all true and we're seeing the dip just like everyone else is. But I do think the technical advancements that 5G will have as far as improving latency and allowing us to do more productions remotely perhaps will, again, even the playing field out for a lot of folks and allow for more and more cost-effective live production in our space.
[00:39:07.50] David: Yes.
[00:39:08.14] Tyler: And that maybe it's not next year, maybe it's two, three years, but I think that we'll see a resurgence in what live looks like, live content looks like on social. Maybe it's not a Facebook live anymore, but I do think live content may see a comeback.
[00:39:26.27] David: That's brilliant because, I mean, 5G is supposed to be a hundred to a thousand times faster than 4G which is hard to comprehend. But people forget when 4G came out that's when Instagram said, "Okay, you can upload video now," and all these different platforms. I mean, we forget there were days with Facebook and Instagram you couldn't upload a video, LinkedIn couldn't upload videos, like this is only four or five years ago. Technology just opens up that Pandora’s box of so much more opportunity.
[00:39:54.28] Tyler: Yeah, and there's a stability to it, right? There's a stability which breeds confidence, and confidence breeds better ideas and I think that that will drive more and more live content out there.
[00:40:06.18] David: And I think for the OTT side themes too, listen, the streaming and the OTT apps are just not as good as linear right now, like it's just not reliable, there's buffering issues sometimes, your Apple TV doesn't connect, there's a Bluetooth problem. It's not consumer friendly enough, it's close, but yeah, once we get that technology part of it you can just like throw it up in your TV in milliseconds then it's just as easy.
[00:40:31.02] Tyler: Yeah, so I think we're excited about that and where that's going to allow us to go.
[00:40:37.49] David: All right, so some rapid-fire for you, what is the one social marketing tool that you could not live without?
[00:40:43.53] Tyler: Trello.
[00:40:44.33] David: Yeah, love it. From a business perspective what social platforms seem to be working the most for you guys right now?
[00:40:50.24] Tyler: Instagram, I think that's across the board, right?
[00:40:53.20] David: So that being said ... that is always the number one answer by the way. Can you rank in order in order of importance for you guys as far as spending resources on when you look at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, how do you kind of rank that in terms of importance?
[00:41:08.57] Tyler: Yeah, I won't rake the bottom, but I'll give you the two, like I think Twitter has done an incredible job of creating a unique offering that we need, right? The real-time on Thursday nights, there is no better weapon in our arsenal than Twitter. So that is hugely important. And then the growth on Instagram is insane, I mean, I think everyone's seeing it, like you can't feed the beast enough, the product is great, they've done a great job at adapting content offerings and really allowing us to experiment. So those two are really, really important to us. And then we continue to experiment across the rest of them.
[00:41:48.22] David: I was looking at NBA social and I think on Instagram their engagement rate is a hundred times higher than Facebook. I mean, that tells you to put more eggs in that basket. Real quick on Snapchat, I know you guys have tried some different things with discover and had a big presence up there especially when it launched, like what's your thought on Snapchat, how do you approach that platform in its current state?
[00:42:11.16] Tyler: Yeah, the challenge for us is ... and I don't think it's for everyone, but the process I outlined before with the insight side of our business is so important to the creative process for us, that the lack of insights that come with Snapchat content ...
[00:42:26.26] David: That's right. That's tough.
[00:42:28.08] Tyler: ... sometimes slowed us down. It eliminates a little bit of confidence in what's going to work in the space, so we find it more challenging to create in it.
[00:42:38.40] David: Yep, I've heard that a lot, that makes a lot of sense. All right, in our industry FOMO is a major thing, everything moves so quickly, so what's the one thing that you would recommend everybody in our industry either reads or stays on top of just to make sure they're not missing out on.
[00:42:54.12] Tyler: That's great, I mean, listen, what is happening on the athletic is super interesting to me, and it's incredible content right now. It's funny to think but because it's long-form ...
[00:43:07.58] David: They hired every writer in the world in seems like.
[00:43:10.49] Tyler: I think it's important for everybody who's in the sports space to at least keep tabs on what's happening over there, and that to me is it's a daily read for me, it's interesting to see what they're doing and how they're going against the grain in a lot of ways and it's working and the content's still really good. So that to me is ... that's what I'm focused on a lot right now.
[00:43:32.00] David: To be the director of content you have to have millions of ideas in your head at all time, so what inspires you to stay on the cutting edge and think outside the box day to day?
[00:43:41.58] Tyler: Oh, geez, I mean, the people I work with I think are number one. I for sure have millions of ideas; I wouldn't say they're all good.
[00:43:53.46] David: It's all a numbers game.
[00:43:54.55] Tyler: Yeah, exactly, bad 300 you're in the hall of fame, right?
[00:43:57.00] David: Exactly.
[00:43:58.30] Tyler: So I have incredibly talented group of creatives around me who ... listen, like I'm a competitive guy, I like pushing myself to be a part of that process and produce the way that they produce really, really drives me. And there is an environment here that is so open to new ideas where you can have a first year graduate pitch something like deer inside and that makes it all the way up onto air, right? Like, that brings you to work every day, because you know like you're one good idea away from Charles either making fun of it or loving it on air and getting like that thrill, that doesn't go away. And I think that's the culture here.
And then the other part, the final part is like we have a massive fan base of really passionate people, and you get great response when you did great work.
[00:44:50.24] David: Yes, that's the impactful part of it.
[00:44:53.01] Tyler: Yeah, being able to produce for those fans is really fun.
[00:44:57.45] David: My favorite part of just working in social is when somebody on Facebook or just @ mentions their friend, it's such a simple thing but that means like that touched me, that made me laugh, this is perfect, I got to show my boy how great this is. And it'd be great to get analytics on how many people DM each other on Instagram, because I do that all the time, and that'd be a great engagement number that we can look at too if they ever open that up.
[00:45:21.01] Tyler: Yeah, it's great.
[00:45:22.07] David: Guilty social follow?
[00:45:24.12] Tyler: Well, I would tell you I'm not guilty about it, I think Beyonce has the best social cadence process in the world. Like, she goes so opposite of everything, right? Like, she'll drop like six posts at once, her content is curated in like a very unique way, it's treated, it's creative, it's not your traditional posts here and there, like I am a quite envious and I think I honestly learn a lot from watching how she handles her social. So I'll go Beyonce.
[00:45:59.13] David: I'll give Beyonce another follow, I love it. Kind of one of the last questions for you is, is there any advice for people working in our space and attacking social media daily that you ... they would have out there.
[00:46:12.48] Tyler: I think it goes back to how we started this conversation, I think the more skill sets you have the better off you are in this space not knowing where this space is going still. So Swiss Army knife type people, solution-oriented thinker is a nice way of putting that, those are the people who are really, really going to be successful. I came up and my background was a copywriter, but I quickly learned that that wasn't going to be enough, so I taught myself a lot of skills, base level stuff, that allowed me to create in a multitude of ways. I think if you do want to be a creative in our space that's really, really important.
And then the other one is just you can't be stubborn or unwilling to adapt or you will fizzle out very, very quickly.
[00:47:05.02] David: I've started saying that, like it's fine, if you don't like adapting and you don't like being flexible, we get it, like there's plenty of industries out there that kind of are your 9:00 to 5:00 and you can do your same job, but it's just not the right industry if you're not about that life.
[00:47:18.42] Tyler: Yeah, and get your sleep early on in life because once you start down this career path you have to ...
[00:47:24.10] David: Constantly in sleep debt is a problem. Then last one for you, if you could recommend anybody in your network, I know a lot of your brilliant folks that you work with daily, but anybody in your network you think would provide value or be a good next guest for me to ...
[00:47:40.37] Tyler: I'll give you a name, and not in Turner, but there's another Tyler, so I don't want to go back to back Tylers but maybe down the road. A gentleman by the name of Tyler Hissy who is ... I maybe screw up his title, but he is I think the VP of marketing in social ...
[00:47:57.54] David: Viacom, right?
[00:47:58.48] Tyler: Viacom, yes.
[00:47:59.47] David: I've talked to him before, I love it. Not in a podcast, but I want to ... Now I want to.
[00:48:04.52] Tyler: Yeah, Tyler and I actually started our career together at a content site called (hunter.com?), which was a train wreck but so much fun. And we've kind of gone separate paths but stayed very close and we always try and find time to connect and talk about experiences. He started the MLB Fan Cave, I don't even remember that social, Tyler was creative behind that and ran the hat. So he's done some really, really cool stuff, and now he's working for MTV and doing incredible work there and winning too many awards. And he's always a guy when I'm a little bit unsure or not quite totally sold on something, I always try and seek his advice.
[00:48:48.15] David: I think he was telling me when I spoke with him that like the Wild N Out YouTube channel's like one of the most successful, engaging YouTube channels.
[00:48:55.38] Tyler: And if you want to talk about ... like what he's done there, like they put full episodes, like they have no fear of the competition, right? Like, they view it as content is content, and I don't know I'm going to give Tyler too much credit for creating that culture there, but he's definitely made the most of it. And yeah, their YouTube presence is insane.
[00:49:17.22] David: Yeah, and the ratings came out like the year-over-year viewership, it was good to see TNT with the uptick there, and then MTV had a huge uptick with the revival of Jersey Shore, so tap into the nostalgia, people still tuned in the linear.
[00:49:32.45] Tyler: Yeah, he's doing some cool work down there.
[00:49:34.34] David: I love it, man. Well, thank you so much the time, man. This is a really, really good stuff, and I'm excited to chat more in the future, man.
[00:49:41.58] Tyler: Yeah, man, I look forward to it, and we'll get some fish tacos next time.
[00:49:45.47] David: I appreciate it. Thanks, man.
[00:49:46.53] Tyler: All right, man. See you.
[00:49:53.00] David: There he is, my man, Tyler Price, that was amazing, man, I think kind of getting back to what we've heard on this program so many times, but not enough marketers I think are looking at as their main KPI is just being genuine with the audience and genuine with your content, understanding what's working in terms of engagement, interaction rate. Are we growing our audience? Just looking at those three metrics on a constant basis and making sure that your North Star ends up really putting you in a good place overall if you had like he said the resources and the ability to get more content out there and constantly A/B test and be able to move and evolve with your strategy. So that was really good.
Solution-oriented thinkers, I think as you build your teams out there, all of you listeners, as you look at your departments, man, I think that's so important for our industry is to have people that are faced with a lot of problems. I think in social media you are a problem solver at the end of the day, there's a lot of requests, there's a lot of different people that have thoughts on how social should work, in sports there's like I said LeBron dropping 75 or Westbrook getting traded, what do you do with that information? You got to just start whiteboarding out those ideas and get after it.
And then I think what we talked about with Bleacher Report and their VR football account, that is just the standard in no excuses. If you don't have highlights and there's a lot of people in the indusry I think that just say, yeah, the only reason they're good is because of this, you know, Bleacher Report has a lot of employees and they have a lot of investment, but they also have a lot of really solid ideas and they've built their team to make sure that they are best-in-class with those ideas and hitting on pop culture and trying new things like gaming zone. So give credit where credit's due, I think that's important for everybody to understand.
So really, really good stuff by Tyler, I'm excited to have him on the program, in the future as well. A quick request for you guys if you enjoy the program, would love a iTunes review, a five-star review on iTunes, we really, really appreciate that. And of course all of our podcasts are uploaded to YouTube as well so you can watch the video version as well.
As always thank you to Will Kelly, David Frerker for all their help. This has been another edition of the business of social podcast powered by the GOAT, STN Digital.