Today could be an important day for you. Once I was a 20th Century radio pro. I believed certain things and even believed that those things were universal truths that didn’t change. Well, now I live 13 years into “the future,” and things change here all the time. I’ve had to learn and embrace contact and engagement elements of social media. I’ve had to look at platforms like Facebook and Twitter for what radio can get out of them for our brands (not just as places where we go and act like someone who is on Facebook or Twitter in their personal time). That has led me to embrace Facebook and the connectivity, validation and closeness that it can bring you with the listeners you most want to attract and bring back to your brand. However, I have been slower to embrace Twitter. Maybe it is the 140 characters. But now that is over, too.
Twitter gives us opportunity to be relevant and sticky to subjects most likely to be of interest to the listeners we most want to attract to get more of their listening time (especially at work). So, here are some thoughts to “open the floor” on discussion about Twitter.
1. Local radio should focus on building the personality-listener relationship on Twitter and the subject should relate to local, local, local whenever it is possible to do so.
2. Twitter allows you to post 140 characters (hopefully) about something important to someone other than yourself, the radio station or the broadcast company you work for today. Note to self: Make sure your 140 characters are about something that would interest the listeners we would most want to attract for your local radio brand. You can do something compelling that is uniquely focused on listener interest. This could be related to a local issue, a local photo or something that happened nationally in the news that has a local spin on it.
3. Use hashtags to zero in. Twitter allows you to use hastags so listeners who search content can find things of a specific interest. If you live in Atlanta, Georgia, for instance, you might be interested in Atlanta. If I programmed a station in Atlanta, I might offer content with the hastag #Atlanta whenever appropriate so I can capture the eyes of those searching #Atlanta. At the same time, if I were a country station and Zac Brown was doing a show tonight, I might use #ZacBrown or #ZacBrown with my city name as my hashtag in for those listeners most interested in Zac Brown. By the way, this works for any artist related content.
4. When you use Twitter and hashtags, your focus should always be to bring them back to a product you own. Not Facebook or Twitter.
Social media is something you should experiment with today. It is a largely free resource and we don’t live in the 20th Century anymore. So, we shouldn’t still be back there in 1999. As your mom may have said to you back in the day, “Get out there! There’s a whole world waiting for you!”
There are just a few more things that you should think about associated with these thoughts:
People respond to visuals and the visuals you use in social media (especially Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest) should be important to the listener (not just the station), they should be relevant to the current moment, if possible they should be fun and they should lead back to the products you own (either on-air or on the web). This especially includes your use of images and hashtags on Twitter (or anywhere social).
Keep this in mind: When you are posting anything or commenting on anything as a personality for your radio station, you are representing the radio company. As long as you use common sense, understand that social media – like being on air – is public, make sure you are responsible and legal and respectful to everyone, you should enjoy and experiment to develop important impact in your social media for the radio station. That’s the goal. As long as you know that the words and images you use are “really out there” in “print,” you should be respectful and positive to bring back only positive benefits for your station and employer.
If your employer doesn’t get the value of social media, work on showing them how you can help the company make additional revenue with digital and social media. Show them that and you will get all the cooperation you want. You might even get a raise.
Having said all of that, It’s 2013. This could be the year of local radio – again. Be local, have fun, think about the listener and be visually engaging. Respond to listeners. Be helpful. Let’s go get it on-air, on the street and in social media. It’s our world.
*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. His interests include social media, digital local-direct revenue and non-traditional revenue for radio. And, yes, he believes you should be receiving more share of digital revenue in your local radio market along with higher ratings. Contact him directly @ 877.475.6864 or Americalist1@aol.com.