For anyone who does not know, rich visuals are a huge key to being successful in attracting and giving energy to the most important participators in social media, mobile, or the Web.
Uh, if you don’t know how important mobile is, the Facebook news feed redesign in 2013 should highlight that for you and you should be paying attention.
So, what does the redesign of the Facebook news feed mean for your station in 2013? Well, first, change is something Facebook has to do regularly to stay relevant and keep the interest of their important participators. If it is important for them in social media, it’s important for you. So, pay attention to what I call “turn the lights up, turn the lights down” in your social media, Web, and mobile strategy and actual execution. This is similar to how fast food restaurants like McDonald’s keep people interested by rotating in “limited time specials” or how nightclubs have to regularly remain interesting and change to stay current and “in.”
Here are some other things you should be paying attention to and how you can make them meaningful for your team:
1. Visuals are more powerful in social media, mobile, and the Web than ever. Your visuals should be high-resolution photos and you should use visuals that are the most universally appealing to the listeners you most want to attract. Facebook is increasing the size of visuals; you want to appear “splashy and fun.” In other words, your picture is worth more than 1,000 words. Make it look good at any size by using high resolution pictures in your sharing.
2. While I have been preaching this for a long, long time, you should be using video. Pay attention to how much bigger Facebook will be making all visual images and make your plans to provide quality higher-resolution visuals of all kinds. We are in a fun industry and people like to receive backstage views of radio. Yes, even now, when the doomsayers point out that consumers only care about new media (not true; Don’t believe me? Start posting the fun of our business and think about the jobs most people have today).
3. Always consider how your content will appear on mobile. It should be no surprise that Facebook is pushing how they appear on mobile out-front. This means that every consideration is given to how to become more engaged specifically with smart phones. If you are not thinking about this, too, that is an error.
4. Pay attention to how you present your brand in all ways. Presentation has always been important, but now that is intensifying in social media, mobile, and the Web like never before. It all starts again with visuals. Consider that Facebook is going to push everything visual forward in importance. This includes your visuals, like your cover photo, on your timeline. Remember that listeners are real people and connect with people over brands (personalities). Your personalities should pay even more attention to every visual detail of their Facebook pages.
5. Focus on high-quality content that is not only promotional. I know, we beat this into the ground and the contesting-only radio feeds continue by some stations. The new feed will encourage more control by Facebook users that could be negative for radio if you don’t make your content more relevant to Facebook users — as if they were friends that you are sharing important, smart or fun content with, not promotional spam.
6. You must make your content fun, friendly, smart, and focused on the audience you most want to attract, but you must also have a variety of content by strategy so that your listeners are passionately engaged. When you do these things, the new revamp is much more likely to reward you. This starts with developing the right strategy for your individual local radio brand that focuses only on your market and only on those people most likely to love your primary product. Not your Facebook content. Use Facebook to bring people closer to your brand and to encourage usage of your brand.
7. You should be encouraged to allow your personalities to post and engage local listeners as themselves and to reflect their image and lifestyle as they do over-the-air. If they are successful doing this, evidence will be everywhere. They will have more contact with advocates of your brand, they will encourage listeners to engage the station, and they will do more than post content. They will validate listeners and it will appear (and be) personal.
In the end, it is just like the beginning. In other words, whatever changes come on Facebook and other social media platforms, you can count on this: Keep up with trends that are relevant to your “format life group,” open up, engage listeners on subjects and with visuals that they are passionate about today.
The old days are gone. If you want to be successful today, you have to be a 21st Century person. Don’t go along with the wisdom that social media does not matter. Consumers are naturally assuming more power. If you don’t have a relationship with them that is current (including being active and relevant in social media), you will be “out” soon. If you are in radio, you are in marketing. That means you must be in the “now.” You should be highly tuned into what your audience is doing — and that is easier now than ever.
Do that and you will be successful with any change that comes along because you will be current and relevant.
*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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Loyd Ford is the Direct Marketing, Ratings and Social Media Strategist for Americalist Direct Marketing. He works with media brands all across the country to improve ratings and participation with custom contest strategy, telemarketing, strategic direct mail and social media for radio clients. Contact him directly @ 877.475.6864 or Americalist1@aol.com.