There are a lot of things you can do with social media, but radio stations have specific needs. As programmers or personalities, we should be seeking to gain access to ears and eyes for our products both online and on-air, and also to participate in the lives of the most active listeners. These are the people who have broad access to radio (probably at work) and can become our brand cheerleaders. Sometimes the biggest decision you want to make right away is where to take specific types of content and how to make it easy for your team to stay on top of social media. Here are four ways to divide your time in social media that should really help you focus on your mission for eyes and ears in your market.
1. It is important to listen to what is going on in the market regarding your station and personality “brands.” Use Google Alerts for your individual personalities and brands. If you are not doing this, you may not be seeing all that is said about your radio station or your personalities.
2. Most people like to promote in social media, and I encourage balance with this. Twitter is a favorite for promoting. It can be used to promote an event, of course. You can also use Twitter to launch a contest or give critical information about something you are doing (along with an appointment to come to the station for specific content revelations). You can use Twitter to tease listeners to a website or listen on-air for a specific announcement of some kind (as long as the content has real payoff for the listener and not just the station).
3. When it comes to participation, I say Facebook is king. Listeners are sharing their lives on Facebook every single hour of the day. People want to be heard and you offer natural and credible vehicles for validation for them in the form of your personalities and station brand. While it is great to get listeners to like you on Facebook, the real work begins once they do. You should seek to comment on what they are talking about with their friends — as personalities and as a station brand — on things that touch the music you play, events you engage. When they post on your Facebook wall, comment back to them publicly, and also send them a private email. This comes straight out of “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” but it works on Facebook as if it were invented yesterday. This is true engagement and it has a great payoff.
4. Some people call this one “publishing,” but I call it “outreach.” You should be involved in using the natural content that is a part of your radio station through concerts, events, or happenings that would be exciting for your listeners. Think about how visual radio really is. This means using YouTube to post video of backstage for concerts, or even going around the parking lot before the show and engaging listeners in tailgating. You can YouTube everything from fun promotions to local events your station is a part of. You can engage listeners by putting the fun on video and helping to lead people back to your primary signal. Your personalities can also use Blogger, Word Press, and other free resources, or even your own station website to post pictures and blog about things that are important to listeners who meet your profile and are active in your market.
When it comes right down to it, music stations are careful of the songs they play, news talk stations are careful of how they construct their content, and all formats are concerned with being focused so they accrue the highest benefit possible from being a big brand in their local market. In social media, using the right platform for the right goals is also critical.
Once you decide how to design your social media pattern, everything else will fall into place.
Join the free Radio Social Media page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialnetworking4radio
*Content originally from RadioInk.com. For more on social media and radio, go to www.radioink.com and look down the left-hand side of the homepage for the column called “Engagement.”