This morning, the news came down the wire that AT&T U-Verse customers would no longer have access to Hallmark Channel programming. Crown Media has stated via press release they are happy to re-start negotiations with AT&T. Talks broke down over new carriage agreements sometime last week, and as of 12:01AM ET, the Hallmark family of channels went dark. We’ve all seen these stories before, where renegotiations are going on, and both sides are urging customers to contact the other company to demand they do not lose programming.
This situation has been no different except that the Hallmark Channel has found a way to use social media to their benefit, even though they negotiations have still fallen through and the channels have been blacked out. They sent a very powerful message through Facebook and Twitter, both on their sites, and the AT&T U-Verse site.
Starting with the Don’t Take My Hallmark Site, Hallmark drove traffic both to their site as well as the AT&T pages, urging customers to comment and share their concerns. The results have been impressive:
- Over 1500 comments urging AT&T to keep the family programming channels.
- 4,580 FaceBook likes to the U-Verse related posts on the HallMark Channel fan page.
- Multiple tweets and conversations with current fans of Hallmark.
Despite the failed negotiations to continue carrying programming for AT&T U-Verse customers, Hallmark more than doubled their traffic to their social sites and web site, and all since August 26th when they started the campaign. The number of likes they have gotten from the campaign and the comments on their pages will undoubtedly remain, and the Google search for “Hallmark Channel” have their Twitter, Press Page, and FaceBook on the first page of results. What can you learn from Hallmark Channel’s campaign?
- Call to action. Not only did Hallmark tell their customers what was going to happen, they told them what to do about it – go to the AT&T U-Verse fan page and let their thoughts be known.
- Monitoring. From the looks of things, Hallmark was prepared for social media to hit the ground running. Not only were they looking for mentions of their company, but they were directing their people to use it to get the message out.
- Gave a reason why or why not. Every couple of months, battles like this arise, but Hallmark was quick to state what the negotiations were NOT about, taking to Twitter to clear up rumors they wanted more money. “It wasn’t Hallmark demanding big $$$ that got the networks taken off. We’re actually very disappointed that this happened. Thank you”.
What do you think? Did Hallmark hit a homerun here, even though they are no longer carried on U-Verse, they did get a HUGE turn out through social media and can show their results right on their Facebook page. Did they win or lose?
Note: You can check out the individual press releases from Hallmark and AT&T.