It is always good to have a roadmap or a GPS and a plan when you get in the car and go on a trip. Almost no one disagrees with this. That’s a sound strategy if you want to reach your goal or destination successfully. The same has been true for great radio stations for years. Great radio stations were not born from a spreadsheet, but there was often a specific plan to create real value to local listeners and your social media should have a plan so you end up being effective there, too.
So, how do you do that?
1. You should have an actual strategic plan for validating local listeners you want to attract in social media.
2. Personalities “drive the bus.” Try to put your personalities “out front” and make sure they understand their role and their goals: Listen, validate, engage, and draw listeners back to your brands. Notice I didn’t say: “Make sure you like us on Facebook.” I’m not against likes, but if you want to be effective, you must be after more than that.
3. You should develop that plan so that your content is balanced and has a wide variety of rich content elements. This does mean having a variety of subject matter, but it also means unique use of photos, video, and links back to your website that showcase something that listeners really are passionate about so you can draw them back to your website (and then, hopefully, your station directly).
4. Your social media content plan should involve an active role in showcasing local charities. Each personality should be active in this and it will draw passionate people toward you if you do it right.
5. Any social media strategic plan should involve validating the listeners you most want to attract and amplifying reasons for them to follow you back to the brands you own (website and on-air primarily).
6. Ask yourself what makes your format special and unique and what attracts listeners to your format. In social media, you should relate these things to local, local, local. So, tying artists to the community with knowledge about their visits, likes, dislikes, and any opportunity to relate human interest about that artist to something in your market can be important. This should be a part of your local planning for social media.
7. Focus on the things that make your brand unique, including what makes you unique from your direct competitors and zero-in on the most attractive qualities of what makes you unique. Then, use elements of only the most magnetic elements of your uniqueness to draw listeners to you.
8. “Listen” to the conversations happening in your market on social media, on your Facebook page, and on those pages of your competitors and what I call “local pages of interest.” Look for elements of conversation or opinion about the format, the stations (including you and your direct competitor or competitors), or any local-based event in the market or region that relates to these elements. These should be a regular part of your overall plan.
9. Follow listeners in social media. This does not mean to “click” on them. When you see someone with an opinion on your page, try to follow them back to their page. As a radio personality, post a thank you or an appreciation of their participation on your station page or on a page “of interest.” Follow up in email if you can find their email address. This means you care enough to find out more. It also means they will feel a connection of some kind because you cared enough to get “involved.”
There is so much you can do for free or nearly free in social media. Personalities are critical in connecting and breeding loyalty with listeners and encouraging tune-in as well as lengthening occasions of listening.
Don’t be stuck in the mid-20th century. Build a plan for your social media, what platforms you will use, how you will use them, how often you will post, and targets for content so that you have a balanced and rich activity level that focuses on listening and being responsive to local listeners. Do this and focus personalities on really connecting with listeners and caring about the community and lifestyle of the listeners you most want to attract and you will be a social media winner.
*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.