Do Radio Stations Really Know What Their Employees Are Doing On Social Media?

Posted on October 3, 2012

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In the 1950s, radio stations all across America participated in allowing DJs to come in with their own records and essentially play what they wanted. It was a free-for-all. Sometimes it worked. Many times it didn’t. However, no radio operator would do that today. That’s because we’ve learned that concentrated programming with a specific strategy for the audience you want to reach is the way to go. But today, radio stations essentially allow personalities, and even part-timers, to tweet and post on Facebook whatever they want without regard to having a plan for social media. What should you include in your social media content today?

1. Take a serious look at your radio station today. How is it programmed? What is the lifestyle of your target listeners? Think local (not national) and peel the onion so that you think about populating your social media content with a rich and important local flavor focused on your listener.

2. Do you have local sports teams with “stories behind the story” on their games, their stars, their sphere of influence? Yes, this can be a college team or even a high school football team. Are you familiar with what is going on in your city on a local level? Use that information because it will cause talk, it will cause re-tweets. It will create sharing.

3. Is there an undeniable story in your radio market? It’s easy to see the national picture, but digging into what is happening locally gives you a powerful tool to be the center of what is happening in your city. It doesn’t have to be sports (as mentioned above). It can be local government (it better be good if you go politics) or business (bragging on local industry or business that has done something everyone can be proud of). This is all about turning the mirror on what makes your market special and telling a story (in just a few words and perhaps pictures).

4. Does your audience like gossip? We’re human, right? Of course, we all love gossip. And gone are the days when you thought just women gossiped. Men are worse! So, turn on the gossip about what is happening with the stars in your format. People love to be on the inside and you are in the perfect position for listeners to credit you with being on the inside from the beginning! Go for it.

5. Talk to your staff about local charities that matter to them and match the audience you are trying to attract. Everyone finds something that touches their heart. Maybe it is the treatment of animals or the local children’s hospital. Get involved at the social media level and ask your listeners to get involved, but be careful to do this as a personality on the station. In other words, make it personal to make it impactful.

6. Social media is the modern individual way of seeking personal validation. Give that some thought and then get busy validating listeners. It’s a hidden law of attraction. Spend time looking at the people who comment on your posts. Go to their Facebook page and comment on THEM! Their posts! By validating them, you bring yourself closer to them and them closer to you. Then, take the next step and send them a Facebook email inviting them down to the station for free movie passes or a CD just because “I was thinking about you and though you might like this.” Don’t make it a contest.

Think about it for a moment: What would happen if you pulled back from social media and had a meeting with your “staff” (whatever that is these days)? What if you talked “among yourselves” and decided what was important to each other and your listeners? And what if you laid out a strategic plan to build your content by assignment and percentage (the morning show does daily gossip and weekly updates on what is actually actively happening at the local children’s hospital; the midday talent loves animals and takes on posting about the local animal shelter activities and also posts pictures of concerts and video of backstage activities, et al). You get the idea.

But here is the secret:  Lay everything out by percentage so you have a balanced approach and make sure your team spends an equal amount of time seeking out validation opportunities in social media with listeners. Take a moment to recognize that social media requires strategy. Take a giant step to move your radio station away from the 1950s model where we just do whatever we want. Try to see the future and get there before your competition. Take social media seriously and harvest the value of the free, and almost free, opportunity to connect with listeners at a level your competition is unlikely to embrace.

It can make a powerful difference in your connection to them and you will see real results that matter.

Loyd Ford

*Content originally appeared @ RadioInk.com.  For more content on radio, go to RadioInk.com.  Look for my column on social media and radio on the left-hand side of the homepage behind my picture and the word “Engagement.”

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