Never Answer Why You Are Successful On Facebook With How Many Listeners “Like” You

Posted on February 19, 2012


Many times every single day I hear program directors, general managers and marketing directors tell me how many “fans” they have on Facebook and how they really want to increase this measurement.  However, that only underscores how much work radio often has to do when shifting from radio to social media, and our industry also often has the challenge of being confused about how to use social media to get real results for radio.

Here’s some truth for you:  Only a small percentage of “fans” on a Facebook page actually engage with the brands they “Like.”

So, here are three (3) reasons why you should never answer a question about the success of your social media with how many listeners “Like” your station Facebook page.

  1. It’s true.  High contesting listeners (contest pigs) will want that freebie or they may wish to participate in a station contest if the prize is compelling enough.  However, that’s not enough for all the listeners you want to attract in social media back to the radio station, and we shouldn’t be thinking that “low.”  Nearly every content post you share should have some leading value for the listener to return to the actual broadcast brand.  Remember:  Facebook is a closed and often passive environment that can tend to be voyeuristic in nature (especially with brands).  People are not going to engage you simply because you are “there.”  So, there have to include a variety of interesting content that is important to the listeners you want to attract to your brand.  This content can include causes, pictures, video and more.  My two cents says you should also always lead them to your actual signal whenever possible.   We shouldn’t be trying to make Facebook more successful after all.  They’re doing just fine.
  2. Brand growth requires reaching out to heavy users, but it also requires reaching medium and light users and converting some of those as well.  Only a small percentage of listeners who have “Liked” your station on Facebook will actually engage in social media.  These numbers go down if all you do is contest on Facebook.  Using cause content correctly and passion content can drive even passive voyeurs back to the station if you build the content correctly around interesting content listeners want to follow.
  3. Quality of engagement is much more important than the overall number of “fans” or “Likes” on Facebook.  How do you build true engagement?  Don’t make it all about you.  That’s the trick.  You have to work on a strategy for social media that includes content by percentage that includes very important issues for your listeners and this content should often lead them back to the station.  This can be done with lifestyle content that fits your format and the listeners you want to attract.

Of course, I say this over and over to clients and non-clients alike:  Do you have an actual strategic plan for social media or is someone on your team “just doing it?”  Not many people in our business would agree that “Jimmy” coming in and playing his favorite songs on your station between 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and “Suzie” coming in and playing her favorites between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is a good idea.  Yet, many radio stations allow this in social media environments like Facebook.  Often so little thought is put into the content pushed into social media by great broadcast brands that stations are simply allowing “whatever happens to….happen.”  In your heart, you know this is wrong.  In business, you should move to fix it immediately.

The opportunity is huge for your radio station to get real engagement and ratings from social media platforms like Facebook, but you have to put the effort into it.  You have to have a strategy.  If you don’t have one, you are missing potentially the biggest largely free opportunity radio has had in decades to expand the connectivity that makes radio great.

Loyd Ford

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