Stop Gaming Your Listeners

Posted on September 30, 2011


Most radio station program directors tell you they are on Facebook and Twitter.  Some will tell you how many “fans” or “likes” they have, but that’s not really engagement.  It’s a moment a listener did something once.  Stations can use social media to compel action from important influential listeners. Unfortunately, looking at most radio station Facebook groups and pages, you can see many in our industry are trying to “game” listeners with technology instead of building value relationships with actionable payoff.

So, ask yourself if you really know your efforts are paying off or are you just going through the motions being hopeful that good things are happening? Here are five (5) ways to insure you are on the right path with your social media to build more valuable relationships:

1. Recognize that all this social media has a human element and only authentic communication focused on benefits for the listener will actually work in connecting you with the listeners that will matter for your brand.  Bull is transparent.  Once listeners smell it, you’re done.

2. Make sure your focus is listener-first and not radio station-first.  This requires focusing all efforts on the listener experience so you can make sure there is value aimed at the listener and designed with their passion in mind.  This is the reverse of many radio stations that are focused only on what they want listeners to do.  It is okay to have desires for what you want listeners to do, but you have to build that right so listeners are drawn in by what they want, what they care about and what they are passionate about.  Your team that works on contribution to social media must understand this idea and put it into practice regularly.

3. Be responsive.  Another way to look at this is to say, “Listen to what they are saying about you in social media, about how they use your product and about what frustrations they may have about your product.”  But don’t just listen – prepare to respond frequently and be ready to make their experience with you better.  Why?  Because putting in effort to make that experience better gets you noticed and often gets you loyalty.

4. Work to draw listeners to your on-air for passions they want.  This is not contesting.  Too many radio stations spend almost their entire focus on contesting in social media and are quickly tuned out by listeners.  Contests can be good.  However, posts or tweets about contests should not dominate your social media productivity.  If they do, your social efforts will surely die.

5. Establish guidelines for how much of each type of content your team posts and who does how much posting.  Don’t have a plan for percentage of each kind of content?  Don’t have a plan for your personalities and how they interact with your Facebook page?  This is what many PDs and radio social media content control managers are unfortunately missing today at radio.  If you’re smart, you should be focused on these issues so you can have a productive plan that really provides benefits for your listeners and for your brand.

Social media platforms are already populated by a large percentage of your listeners and they are seeking validation, influence, voyeuristic opportunities and recognition.  People are more likely to fall under the influence of your personalities than your radio station brand.  Think of personalities as social entrance ramps to your brand.  Listeners will smell you quickly if you are only trying to game them. Instead, work to shift your focus constantly to listener causes, passions and benefits that really matter to them.

Pour those things into your efforts, but have a plan.  That will insure you add value to listeners’ social situations.  Sure, technology gives you potential access to influence people to spend more time with your radio brand.  If you forget the human element though, you’re already dead.  Now, let’s go out there and make sure you keep the actual listener value in your social media play, people.

Loyd Ford

Originally published @  For the most current article on social media from Loyd go to

Loyd Ford programmed very successful radio brands in markets of all sizes for years, including KRMD AM & FM in Shreveport, WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte and WBEE in Rochester, NY.  Learn more about Loyd here:

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