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Loyd Ford

Radio Lessons From The Facebook Changes

by Loyd Ford

Mark Zuckerberg is either Batman or The Penguin.  We just don’t know which one yet.  He developed Facebook to be a way to instantly share almost anything across the globe, but it is becoming something much more than that.  If you are in the media business, the new developments at Facebook also bring much deeper challenges for your efforts to fit in and thrive using their product.  At the same time, radio continues to be in a very good position to take advantage of social media (including and especially Facebook) if broadcast companies execute an actual plan focusing on our natural personality-based advantages before it is too late.

Facebook is an evolving social product lead by a team that constantly thinks in terms of evolving and protecting the Facebook brand against competitors.  Now they are remarkably moving in a direction to attempt to capture the actual internet through individual behavior and seemingly emotional relationships with “friends.”   After all, Facebook now has over 800,000,000 participators globally.  Why not attempt to hijack the internet?  The steep curve of their ambitions and how it will impact your ability to influence people in your own market makes your knowledge and use of Facebook more important than ever.

The Deep Social Radio Challenge
Radio companies – from the mom and pop to the corporate – should become more serious about the human aspects of social media.  And radio has to get serious about using products like Facebook for the purpose of connecting with people in their chosen social environment and encouraging them back to the radio dial. 

Too many radio stations are chasing fan building that builds Facebook while doing very little if anything for their broadcast brand.  That mostly  builds value for Facebook. Facebook is pushing up emotion, visuals and even suggesting their users create question-based content “engagement” generators.  (See “Update Status – Add Photos – Ask Questions” at the top of your home wall or stream on Facebook).   Stop and ask yourself why Facebook is keying on these three individual things? 

They are making it easy for people to behave in ways that drive Facebook automatically.  Facebook knows that your status update is critical because it drives the human need to be validated and seek recognition, but it also feeds interconnection and spreading.  Facebook knows what you and I should about pictures, too; they are highly visual drivers that have proven again and again to draw attention and keep people “sucked in.”  Facebook is encouraging people to ask questions to organically grow connectivity even more and keep activity levels high between “friends.”  If everyone is doing it, it must be the thing to do, right? 

So What Should Radio Do Now On Facebook?
Radio has built in opportunities to encourage social media visuals of events ranging from remotes to concerts to artist events, and our listeners will and should be encouraged to provide even more pictures, video and the spreading of our product experiences to friends, family and co-workers on Facebook. Radio should use our personalities to make experiences with our brands more personal and use the ever opening channels on Facebook to bring people back to our radio brands.  People connect with people more than brands.  If radio does not get serious about developing the use of personalities for driving  engagement of audience back to our radio and on-line content by strategy, we will lose the ability to generate potentially millions of additional dollars non- traditional revenue left on the table for new media companies and to protect the revenue on our primary signals today.

Radio should engage in social media on the local level to drive additional non-traditional revenue dollars attached to unserved communities in individual markets today.  If we don’t do this, we are continuing to leave money on the table by trying to be a national platform and avoiding the strengths of local radio.Radio must become serious about having a social media plan that is used by every staff member who engages any part of the social media process.  We are content providers, but we have to have a plan in terms of a wide variety of goals for ourselves so that we control the use of these great social media tools to benefit radio. 

Finally, radio should incorporate strategies that use the basic elements driving Facebook with the continuous strategy of encouraging influencers to cheerlead our brands and bring social media participators back to radio brands.

Loyd Ford programmed very successful radio brands in markets of all sizes for years, including KRMD AM & FM in Shreveport, WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte and WBEE in Rochester, NY.  Learn more about Loyd here:  

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(10/6/2011 6:06:46 PM)
Thank you for your kind words. No doubt there is upside opportunity with social media to give local radio a stronger connection to listeners. There is also local-based non-traditional revenue opportunities that radio has yet to discover and exploit.

The more we begin to recognize these opportunities exist for radio because of our existing strengths the better our future will be.

- Loyd Ford
(10/6/2011 11:14:24 AM)
This is realy good stuff. Why is it so hard for radio to understand that in all markets it's local that counts? Social Media, in fact New Media (which is not so new anymore) is the perfect place for radio demonstrait it's ability to be part of the community. This is not rocket science, it's plain common sence.

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