The people in our business – radio – want to build a big “following” on platforms like Facebook and Twitter and they want to be a popular choice for their content and for engaging listeners, but I do hear from radio all the time about how difficult it is to get management or ownership or others to push past simply “having a Facebook page” and being “on Twitter.” These great employees are hungry for motivating the rest of their team, management, or ownership to truly embrace social media for the value of the radio stations. They ask me, “How do I get them motivated to take social media seriously?”
Well it’s a matter of overcoming the natural resistance to change. One of my favorite quotes explains why people don’t like change:
“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
So, here are some steps you can take to truly engage your team on the valuable ground of social media and what it can do for your local radio station.
1. Recognize that most adults – especially in management roles are “20th century people.” Most of what they accept as “truth” is stuff they learned before 2001. So, if you want to engage them and get them to see social media value, you must draw the similarity lines between the social “activity” things that they HAVE done for years and years – remotes, station appearances, hosting events in the local market, interaction with listeners at concerts – and the new environments of “social media” dominating American attention in 2013. If you took out the name “Facebook” and replaced it with “that new arena that is opening in September downtown,” the “old guys” would not miss an opportunity to be a part of it. They would have ideas out the butt. So, you have to show them the local participation numbers on the different social media sites and compare it to what they consider “real world things” they would not miss. Make it obvious by relating to their principles of understanding.
2. You’ve heard everyone say content is king. That’s a lie. Money is king. Focus on the money. Nothing gets attention like money. If you are in a radio station today and you take a paycheck from the company, you are there to make life easier for the managers and owners. Otherwise, they would get rid of you. That is a better description of our real jobs in 2013 than any job title you may have today. These radio stations are revenue-generating businesses. Debt, economy, and other factors have – as you know – made everyone focus more on profit. That means that part of your job is to help managers make profit AND make their lives easier. So, think about everything you want to do in social media, what you think your station or stations should be doing, think about the radio business, and work hard to apply revenue generating principles to what you want them to “sign off on” so you bring forth social media ideas that bring value (money) to the table. The more times you do this, the more social media oriented your company will become I assure you.
3. As you develop engagement, don’t leave out the sales department. In no radio cluster in America should there be a zero activity social media lane for the sales team. Business owners are social and need help too. Please see number 2 above. If you are in sales, you are there to make their job easier (the client is the boss). Shouldn’t your team have an overall social media strategy that goes with your sales effort to get every dollar out of the local market? Of course you should. Do you? If not, get busy writing the plan and then execute with passion. Here is a hint: You should be offering help to these local business owners. They have real problems related to your expertise. Don’t just pitch advertising buys. Show them you care about them and validate them. If you need more than that, I am afraid you should talk to someone who can help you develop a social media strategy for your sales team.
4. Don’t make social media confusing or complicated. Show the benefits by showing that there should be an actual strategic plan. How do you do that? You showcase what is currently being done, show how you would do it differently, and how your strategy has real-world benefits that lead to higher engagement, listening loyalty, and revenue. Show details. Include money-making ideas as a regular part of the local social media strategy (see number 2 above) and volunteer to head the project/strategy and show results. This will be – as they say – a feather in your cap when you add revenue and improve connectivity, engagement and participation with your local brands.
The world is changing. How in the world can anyone in the radio business sit back and say that the disruptions we have seen in a wide variety of businesses such as records, auto, retail, and newspapers won’t impact the revenue-based world of radio. It will. It is. That is the number one reason to become aggressive in building local value for your clients in all areas, including social media platforms and your own digital products.
*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.