Your Social Media & Your Database Are Related (And Underappreciated)

Posted on October 1, 2011


Oh, there is such a good feeling at radio about how they are doing in social media. It’s largely because Facebook and Twitter provide free tools and instant “connectivity” with listeners. However, real questions arise when radio starts to talk about how they judge their social media efforts.

Most radio stations today think they have a plan if their PD or content person has put together a Facebook page and they are Tweeting, but how effective are they for creating listening opportunities and loyalty for their on-air product and what is truly possible with social media anyway? Isn’t it enough to be “out there?”

A lot of PDs, promotions directors and market managers are confident about their Facebook efforts specifically because they can point to a number. “We have 19,346 “likes.” Unfortunately, this is only proof that your efforts made someone click “like” once. That is a moment of decision, but it doesn’t have anything much to do with listening to your radio station and it is not a sign of true engagement. If all you want is an image that you are doing something in the social media space, this is a good measure of your success. However, if you want to really build real value in your social media that turns into loyalty, higher ratings and money, you have to have a strategy.

Do you have a strategic plan for what you are doing in social media with specifics? Or are you just allowing people on your staff to “wing it?” This deserves serious thought because the power of social media is in the planning and the specifics. It isn’t in just being there.

If you are a program director, market manager or promotions/marketing director, you are very a top-flight expert in radio and mass marketing. You think like a radio person and your radio station is reflective of your expertise. Social media offers a totally different type of engagement. This is why your social media strategy needs to be totally different than the traditional ways we have all marketed radio in the past. It’s not the same.

The truth is that if you are not doing the right things, your social media isn’t worth very much. Maybe it’s worth nothing at all or it could even be hurting your brand. The only good thing you may be accomplishing is that you feel like you are “out there.” That would be a waste in the highly competitive environment you live in today.

Do you want more from Facebook? Do you want more from overall listener engagement in social media? You’re judged by ratings and revenue. Shouldn’t your social media contribute to your success in these areas? After all, Facebook and Twitter don’t need our help. Making them more successful does nothing for radio. We have to retool our goals for what we get from social media so the focus isn’t how many people “like” your Facebook page. It should be about the three pillars of your success: creating listening opportunities, loyalty and true fan engagement. That’s much more than liking a fan page on Facebook and these three pillars return individual listeners to your brand to use your product. Shouldn’t that be the real goal?

It may be time to get help in laying out a specific plan for your radio station, your personalities and the audience you want to attract and engage in the social media space. It certainly is time for you to know what kinds of content, how much content and when your posting and engagement will be effective for leading listeners back to your brand. Maybe you are already on your way and doing many things effectively for the pursuit of broadcast happiness in social media, but you feel you wish you knew more about creating listening opportunities, loyalty and true fan engagement.

Of course, you can find social media gurus who will walk you through technology, but here we are talking about doing the right things to create human connectivity that reshapes behavior out of desires your listeners have and based upon creating loyalty to and more usage of your product.

The top two areas in radio stations today where large scale improvement in listener loyalty creation and encouraged engagement can be mined is in the areas of database and social media. However, most stations will tell you something very similar about their database that they tell you about their Facebook page. In fact, almost all radio stations are proud of it. “We have 63,457 people in our email database!” Then you ask them what they know about these “listeners” and you hear crickets. It happens more than you think.

Got a plan? This little Facebook note is meant to encourage you to get a specific plan. You can contact someone like me to help you develop a plan or you can develop one on your own. The real bottom line is that we shouldn’t just guess about what we are doing in social media and the focus shouldn’t be a page that belongs to someone else. Having a plan is the answer to get the real results you want for your brand. However, the old saying is true: If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. There’s no reason for that today.

Thank you.


Loyd Ford

Direct Marketing, Ratings & Social Media Strategist

Americalist Direct Marketing


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