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5 Ways To Use Social Media To Your Advantage

by Loyd Ford

What value do you place in learning new things and how do you see your job or role growing in this business over the next  three to five years?  We are standing at a value crossroads in this business today and no matter who you are you need to develop new abilities and be able to showcase those abilities to those making critical employment and business value decisions.  How you see social media and how you effectively put that to work for you can play one critical role in adjusting your sails for continued success.  However, you must be able to frame the issue of social media as a true value for your employer.

Clearly, we are in the broadcast business.  Fanning success for Facebook and Twitter has no importance for broadcast brands. However, the different social media platforms should not be ignored.  To show true value in the use of these tools, you must first not mistake the value for the price.  Our jobs are to maintain and generate new value in the broadcast brands we use to reach listeners and help advertising clients build their businesses.  That has not changed.  Continuing to focus on our business while using new tools to help us get there allows us to generate steady (and improving) revenue and build value in our market.

Programmers know that what comes out of the speakers is of premium value to their brand.  The same content-based focus is true in your outreach in social media.  If you put a page up on Facebook and simply add a few promotions, there is no value. If you work to build your Facebook page and not your radio station, you also lose.  Social media does not have the same value as a big television campaign, a direct marketing campaign or an on-air promotion because these things all fill a different role in your success.  Treat social media differently.

Learn and have your team learn to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms to help you truly engage listeners with fun content that really engages them while returning them to your brand.  Social media can make your listeners feel closer to you. 

Here are five (5) ideas you can use in your social media to bring listeners closer to you.
1. Post engaging questions on your Facebook page about heart string oriented news stories (local if possible) and when possible encourage listeners to check out photos/additional content on your website.
2. Post videos in which you relate directly to something that impacts your life and your listeners’ life.  This is personal (but should be something you don’t mind making public; this can be a child’s graduation as an example).  People love and respond to real, but make sure it relates to the audience you are trying to attract.
3. Post content focused on saving money for specific reasons tied to emotional aspects of your life (college education for children as an example).  Don’t just post money savers.  Tie it to the human need listeners can relate to and comment on.
4. If you have availability, post content asking listeners to submit a question to the new artist you will visit backstage while they are in town.  Then, follow up by posting the video of the artist and yourself backstage answering the question.  This makes it more personal.
5. Post a frustration that you may have in your personal life (again, that you can and want to make public) and ask advice on handling the subject.  When doing this, always turn it back to the listeners.

The value of social media should be based upon relationship with the personalities on your radio stations.  But don’t value social media as a trick.  Listeners want to connect to humans.  Be authentic and sincere in helping listeners find what they are looking for in the “social media space.” Our real goal should be to provide what listeners are entertained by in social media while attracting them to our personalities and softly nudging them back to our brands when they make the choice every listener makes in the “radio space.” 

Does your team have a plan that everyone understands for engaging Facebook “fans?”  Does your team have a specific goal in mind when they use Twitter?  Is your team skilled at using video and giving content to listeners that both entertains them and that brings them back to your station?
Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE
Visit his new Facebook page HERE

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- vfwllsg
(8/5/2011 10:43:20 PM)
OK, thanks. I thought you were saying something else.

Lately I’ve gotten a little involved in the intersection between the broadcast radio world and the non-professional podcaster world, where I come from. Some viewpoints are different, and I’m trying to sort them out. Here are a few thoughts based on this interesting article:

You need to decide if your social media brand is the station/company/business entity, or an individual. Some companies have been very successful with an online corporate brand (Comcast and Southwest Airlines on Twitter), but many times the consumers/customers can relate more easily to an individual.

In the case of radio, I really don’t care about the radio station. I relate more to the personalities on the station, and that’s who I’d want to interact with. Fans latch onto people more than they latch onto companies.

Social media is about the conversation, but it has to be genuine. If someone is trying to sell me, I unfollow. If I have an interesting conversation, or if it’s a medium where I can provide feedback and interaction, I’m more likely to stick around. Think of social media more broadly than just another content delivery medium. It’s the conversation.

Sometimes that conversation can be self-sustaining. On the Facebook page for my podcast, fans start and continue their own conversations. I might post some and so might my co-hosts, but the fans often carry the conversation. It’s a community in and of itself, which is very powerful.

I’d add these five social media ideas to bring listeners closer to you:

1. Be genuine: open, honest, responsive.

2. Create and nurture community in the social media forum you control.

3. Participate in social media forums that you do not control, but which are related to the content you produce. Do not “compete” in these places – instead contribute to the conversation. It’s only going to help you.

4. Consider “Tweet-ups” or other kinds of “meet-ups” of your fans. You need numbers (or small geographic reach) to make this work, but your followers and fans will talk about these for a long time. The brand loyalty created is very powerful. Plus you’ll love it.

5. A. Recognize that social media can be more powerful and cost effective than a traditional media campaign, if you create an interaction on a basic human level. B. Don’t listen to the marketing guy. Odds are he doesn’t get it.

Just some thoughts.

- Max Flight
(8/4/2011 4:48:57 PM)
No worries. I mean that our job is not to increase the worth of Facebook and Twitter. Our goals must be or should be trained only to use these tools to increase and intensify our relationships with listeners.

- Loyd Ford

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