How Can Radio Jump Over The (Social Media) Moon?

Posted on November 2, 2012

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We’ve had a good amount of time now to get used to the idea that there are these social media platforms (led by Facebook) that allow you access to opportunity (if you are willing to give up some of your 20th Century ways) to grab onto new ideas that will help your radio station in the seemingly new “If it’s free, it’s for me” environments like Facebook.

Now the Facebook team has essentially taken all groups and brands and moved them to the back of the connectivity bus (unless you are purchasing advertising on Facebook). Where you could post content to be seen by most or all of the people in your “group” on Facebook in the recent past, that is now not even close to true. Now only about 10 percent of your “fans” or “likes” will see any content from you whatsoever. Those in radio who have not been listening as relevant social media “types” talk about having a specific real strategy are falling farther and farther behind. Still, it’s not too late to catch up, but you better kick it in the butt because the social media train is leaving the station and it isn’t coming back for old people who don’t get it. The days of depending on Facebook to do your social media for you are gone. In fact, they never really did do it for you if all you were doing was “phoning it in.”  No game = no benefit.

What can you do to really start winning in social media now? Elevate your game and get off of the old “post a little bit and forget it” philosophy. Don’t see Facebook as the center lane of your social media strategy for 2013 and going forward. See Facebook as one part of a larger puzzle. Really engage and commit to local relationships that matter to your brand and your listeners. Here are some basics that you must begin working on now unless you want to be left in the past:

1. Seriously develop a social media strategy that involves your goals (what you want to achieve and how you will judge your efforts). Make sure you have a plan that includes why you use Facebook, why you use Twitter, and why you use other social media platforms (and for what). Put real effort into developing the actual “plan” before executing anything. This plan should deal with individual “high-profile” personalities on your radio brands and their content in different social media environments, along with very specific content strategy so that you have a balanced approach to creating high-quality social media content that engages the passion of your target listeners (those you most want to attract to your brands). You should have a strategy set where everyone on your team knows what kind of content they are to post by percentage and when they will be responsible to post daily.

2. Challenge your team to engage listeners on their content and encourage them to have back and forth conversations as well as sharing with others they influence. This might seem difficult at first, but it won’t be as difficult if your focus is truly on building actual relationships from social media and bringing listeners to your actual online and on-air world. If the newest changes on Facebook indicate anything, it is that investing in Facebook for the purpose of “living on Facebook” is the wrong philosophy. Sure, your goals should involve high-engagement on Facebook, but you must include drawing them to your owned-media (online and on-air). Attracting and drawing listeners should be the strategy; not attract and play with listeners on Facebook.

3. A picture says a thousand words. Nope. It’s more like a million in social media and specifically on Facebook. Listeners (Facebook consumers) are drawn to photographs and our lives are filled with them (listeners’ lives and the lives of your radio brands). Your station staff not taking photos of events, concerts, and “happenings”?  Shame on you. Invest in a digital camera. They’re cheap. Think about what your radio station stands for, how listeners you most want to attract use radio and why. Then, give them the visuals on Facebook (and other platforms) that tease and by purpose draw them back to your brand.

4. Have your on-air personalities blog on your website. Talk about those blogs on-air (and sponsor them, please). Give personalities purpose in content. This means make sure your personalities stand for something that reflects well on the on-air brand and draws specific types of listeners to your brand. Work to link these personality blogs with bloggers in your market and entertainment-based sites so that they draft listeners toward on-air content. Encourage them to “get sticky” and engage listeners to share, participate and educate others about their blog and causes they share with the personality. Your personalities can’t write? That’s so 2008. Today is about engagement; that starts with having something to say that reflects interests of the listeners you most want to attract on-air and off.

5. Use YouTube and other resources to explode sharing. Of course, nothing will happen to any of your content unless it is rich and targeted to the listeners you want to attract. Get creative and share things listeners will want to share with friends, family and others. Do this and your social media influence will explode.

6. Go back to the school of hard knocks. Invest in knowledge and learning new tricks. Great radio always reinvents itself. Learn how to use new knowledge to bring what is fun, hip, cool, valuable, and relevant to your attractable audience every day in social media. And always focus on luring listeners back to the website and on-air that you own because that is the true measure of success in putting social media to work for your brand.

Times are changing. They really are. If you bend, you won’t break. If you are rigid and refuse to adjust with the changing times, you will be run over and left behind.

Now is your time. Embrace the future because it is here today with social media and digital solutions that can be used by radio to grow our future.

Loyd Ford

Americalist1@aol.com

*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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