That’s right. I said it. 2014. It will be here any second. The 21st century is different for a lot of reasons. It seems time moves faster and you have less employees in radio stations to do the work. Oh, and more work.
Radio has changed (and will continue to do so). Different broadcast companies have totally different philosophies about everything from on-air to social media to digital revenue. More choices and power for consumers (listeners). Because of the social connectivity factor, large groups of listeners can simply become more vocal or go away….forever. What direction is your social media going now so that you meet the “challenges of the future”? Let’s take a moment for some updated highlights.
1. Things are getting “more social.” Why are so many different kinds of businesses so active in social media? Money. You should be, too. A lot of radio companies pay lip service to being truly engaged in social media. Like everything else, the serious operators and those who are focused on the new consumer rules of the 21st century will develop a full strategy for social media, including timing of engagement, targets, goals, variety of content, and visuals. Those players will be the winners. If you don’t have your own philosophy in place, you should seek strategic wisdom on this and get moving because of: Money. Being closer to your listeners and your clients is, and has always been, about money. That hasn’t changed; it’s just moved a little. Be connected to your customers (both listeners and clients).
2. The need to connect with your listeners has increased no matter whether you recognize that or not. Forget about debating if radio will have more competition or if listeners will develop more choices. Of course you will and they will. Radio has always had to deal with change and competition. What makes now different is that consumers have so much more control over experience, reaction, and being vocal about what they like and don’t like. You want to be in their mix of conversation today more than just being “on-air,” or you may be simply…OUT.
3. Don’t kid yourself: Facebook is the beast. Don’t get confused by the “next big thing.” Be aware of what makes Facebook different: Big, eye on mobile, always defensive, powerful population segments active on Facebook in your market today. The big population is all over Facebook. Do you know the active numbers of YOUR targets on Facebook (in your market)? If not, better start checking it out today.
4. Get “socially” connected to the assets in your market. What is a community? There are tons of them in your market. It’s everything from churches to business groups to sports teams to high schools to Meet Ups. Are you connected socially and locally? Is your brand connected to the things in the local market that matter to the listeners you are most trying to attract? Being in the national conversation on pop culture is cool, but being connected locally is where the rubber meets the road. Don’t just accept this as words. Really connect your social and digital assets to local assets that are important to your audience.
In today’s broadcast world, you can be connected, tight, focused, and self-motivating. You can have products and personalities that are engaged and focused on the rich content that really connects with your local audience….or you can be “Old Guy.” Do you know the “Old Guy?” He is the one that says, “Get off my lawn” or “This is the way we used to do it.”
Do you know why you can’t go back to the way things used to be? Because that time doesn’t exist anymore. The good news is that now does exist and you are in it. So use it.
This is only about the same thing your job has been about for decades: Staying relevant.
Make sure your social engagement is authentic and focused on listeners and clients. Don’t fall into the “Old Guy” trap. These listeners and clients are the lifeblood of your market, your radio company and your success. Without it, you would be crushed. Social media allows you to learn what’s new, stay on top of trends, and be your authentic self to purposefully promote your brand through caring for your listeners and your clients so that 2014 will be a banner year for your company because doing these things will make sure your social media is on the right track.
*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. Don’t just read. Get engaged in the process. Contact him directly @ 877.475.6864 or Americalist1@aol.com.