Every company is a media company. Gone are the days when you are competing in just one form or the days when you are only competing with other radio companies and brands. You may not think of it this way, but you are competing with a wider variety of businesses trying to get your listeners’ attention. As you can reasonably expect, listeners regularly pull back to respect only the opinion of those they are close to or those that gain their trust over time.
We all know that most companies and people think selfishly. It’s human nature. So, go the other direction to set yourself apart in social media.
You should always consider how your social media plan attaches your brands to listeners through high-quality content, pictures and video, but you should also heavily consider emotion, the role it can play for you in your local market, and focusing much of your attention in social media on things that actually impact listeners on a local level beyond the pure interests of getting them to listen to your radio station. This is a more indirect strategy that can have more power than simply asking them to “like” you or to listen-to-win. This often means making yourself really known to and engaging local charities that have great impact on the people within your “target” locally. You should own the high-impact lanes of the most active charities that fit the profile of your station and listeners so you can do “good” and expose authentic involvement of your radio station to cheerleader-ready listeners so they will rally around your brand.
If you want to continue to be successful, you will have to commit to what is true: People are not very trusting and will only trust you after you have proven you have their interests, and the things they care about, at heart. As we have pulled back as an industry (especially locally), we have largely pulled away from the real value of local community. I know there are lots of examples of radio being involved promotionally with charity, but I am talking about real local engagement and actually committing to work with charities in a way that makes it as personal as possible. Listeners can tell when you care and that will bring passionate fans to personalities and radio brands. That’s working on helping high-passion listeners form “loyalty” to your brand over others. Here are some thoughts on how to make the most of your local charity ties and put your personalities and radio brands up-front:
1. If you work to connect to local listeners and charities that are having real impact in your market, there will be a pay-off for your brand. Does your station have a social media plan that includes allowing local charities to engage your listeners through your personalities, website, and social media content on all platforms? If not, you should look at how to gain the most traction with your audience by authentically engaging the passionate and active local charities having the most impact right now. Owning this ground will set you apart.
2. Make your engagement of local charities that are impacting passionate groups of people within your target and life group authentic and as personal as possible. This means you should identify people on your on-air team who have a passion for charities that fit your local market opportunity for your format life group and local market brand. Then, let them lead a passionate charge that includes all of your communication “lanes” to listeners and really commit to rolling up your sleeves and making local “waves” for the charity. Let the personalities become a part of the charity push and value their involvement.
3. Put enough engagement in local charities to have an “ownership” role (meaning a large stake in the success of efforts underway) and ask to have a large profile in all of their marketing or promotion platforms. This includes prominent logos everywhere and visual representations of your personalities showcasing and communicating critical information about the charity and/or local events, hosting events, and even presenting checks in print material, media releases, TV and/or other media. Because you are offering personalities to do “presentation” things for the charity, this kind of “ask” should be a natural extension of your overall involvement.
Radio gets its power from being local, engaging local, and growing local “good.” In an era where the major broadcast companies are trying to do all they can to “scale,” they risk (every day) limiting the actual power of radio to be most effective, and thus opens opportunity on the local level for competitors of all kinds (because all companies are media companies now and listeners are more empowered than ever).
Separate your radio brands by really engaging local charities with a “social commitment” through your on-air, website, social media, and actual boots-on-the-ground work, and you will see a difference in your relevance in the local community. Make it a part of your social media strategic plan for the purpose of standing out.
This kind of social media engagement at the local level will turn into more revenue and ratings for your company.
*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 & 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.