Right now over 850,000,000 people are using Facebook globally. Targeting in individual U.S. markets for active users of Facebook is exploding. The temptation is always there to go big, be big and chase Facebook and other social media platforms for the purpose of participating alone. They tell you how to do it. Everyone pretty much does the same thing. At the same time, radio shouldn’t just follow something like Facebook. We shouldn’t just have a Facebook page or simply post content about a contest on our air. We are creators.
Consideration should be given to what makes radio special and unique ways we can use social media to help boost brand loyalty and generate ratings and revenue for radio.
1. The first thing that must be said about social media is that social media provides a perfect outreach opportunity for our need as humans to be recognized, appreciated, stroked and validated. Most posts on Facebook are created from this worldview. Unfortunately, most businesses and radio stations are creating content that seeks this validation, too. Instead, we should be focusing on listeners for our purposes. What smart broadcasters should now do is reverse this thinking to attract listeners they want to target by validating them and encouraging them and their need being expressed on social media (like Facebook).
2. Radio has become so focused on traditional revenue paths we may be missing additional business opportunities and revenue growth. Just as national or global social media platforms allow for instant sharing to take place among people, these large social media platforms allow you to share what you are doing locally with other locals and self-generate interest in high-quality content that helps propel business. That has value. As you already know, advertisers will pay for that opportunity. Is radio creating these ‘content models’ on a local level so that more local communities within their radio market can be served and more revenue can be generated for local broadcast clusters? Not really. We have largely taken the easy path as an industry and are doing nothing original. We are copying. The actual business model of social media platforms (especially Facebook) allow you to cheaply develop local web content that can help business for non-radio clients (if you want to build this additional revenue) and share this content from YOUR source with others easily. And sharing is largely free. That’s opportunity if you create smart content that generates actual connectivity between these businesses and their customers. If you focus on creating content on your own and using that content on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to continue to build a fan base for it, you can create actual revenue you can keep. And this isn’t swapping radio dollars for social media dollars. This is creating new business that never rang your cash register at radio.
3. Radio is already social. Listeners expect more from us and they still trust us. If our concentrated efforts focused on creating loyalty-based opportunities for our on-air brands (instead of focusing on how many people like our radio stations), we could create individual content opportunities that involve causes, passions for listeners and unique selling features only available on our individual radio brands in-market. This is why I preach developing a specific strategic plan for social media in general and Facebook specifically.
4. What radio companies are thinking about developing additional business models to serve industries that don’t buy radio but might (and do) support on-line or web-based revenue opportunities? With a little investment and focused effort on creating content that recognizes local businesses that serve communities within our markets, radio could create revenue growth beyond turning the non-traditional revenue hose on and off for limited revenue generation. There are steps almost any broadcaster – big or small – could take beginning today to generate entirely new levels of local business without disrupting traditional radio revenue dollars. These opportunities can exist with content created by current and even additional programming staff and entirely different non-traditional sales teams unattached to your traditional radio business today. That’s right. New business opportunities that use your current resources and that generate additional non-radio dollars.
A real conversation about social media for the benefit of radio must move beyond wondering how to make social media matter on its own terms. People are using social media in alarming numbers. Ask yourself why and ask how we can take advantage of it as a radio industry. We must stake our claim to be able to do what radio has always done: Be creative, invest in local communities and develop actionable ways to help new clients by reaching further than we have in the past.
Content originally appeared @ RadioInk.com. For past columns on social media and radio, go to radioink.com and look for “Engagement” on the left-hand side of the homepage. Click to access additional content.
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