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Fix Your Broken Social Media


By Loyd Ford

Many people in radio and other industries today believe it is important to have a social media arm. Some see social media as advertising; it isn't. Some see cheerleaders pumping up a brand and think they can do that in your radio market for your station; you can. For some people, when their social media fails to achieve anything of substance, many people want to point and say, "Social media doesn't work." However, there is another possibility that should be considered:  Maybe they didn't work.

Let's take a closer look at two of the biggest downfalls in social media performance for stations today:

1. "We're all over Facebook and Twitter" is what I hear all the time. In many cases this means they actually have a Facebook page and they tweet. However, their focus is on contesting and selfishness and not at all on the listener experience in their chosen social media environment.

2. "We engage listeners in social media on our website and email." Then, you go to many sites and see no incorporation of social media. Frankly, when you see a station Facebook page, often times there is no substantial invitation to bring listeners back to the signal or even station website. And if you get a loyal listener email today, you are as likely to receive an email about a "good deal on tires" without any other listener benefits as you are to get information you want about artists on the station, concert events of importance, or engaging content listeners would love to receive from radio.

So, here are five easy ways to fix your social media productivity:

1. Take a step back and really think about what you want to accomplish with social media. If you don't have a specific strategic plan for social media, you are likely spinning your wheels and wasting your time. Don't make your answers about your goals for social media focused on "being on Facebook" or "tweeting about contesting only."  Develop an actual action plan that focuses on those things most important to the listeners you want to attract.

2. Develop rich content with the use of photos and video to truly engage listeners with your brand. It is easier to do these days and not at all expensive to do. I constantly tell clients at radio that we have a "backstage industry."  People want to be backstage. So many people in our audiences want to be closer to the stars of media and music. Use your backstage presence to build value for listeners in the social media space with your own content and use it to lead them to your primary signal again and again for events, special programming, and occasions of listening based upon features exclusive to your station.

3. Please think about your branding in the above video and photo opportunities, and social media should be imaged the same way you would image other outreach activities associated with your brand. Presentation is important.

4. Make your loyal listener email engaging and focused on giving listeners a variety of brief content that can lead them back to you (if they want more). Never send an advertisement by itself without a rich content "dashboard," where listeners can choose from a variety of good things and see the ad. Give listeners the opportunity to "win" smaller prizes just because they received the email from you (every time you email them). Offer listeners the opportunity to give you feedback in every contact piece.

5. Here are the two most important keys to having a great social media plan and fixing your broken social media activities. Consistency and authenticity. In other words, be real and sincere and be very steady in producing the right content in the social media environments where you truly want to engage listeners.

Changes are taking place in the way consumers use your product and interact with your product. If you don't think your listeners are moving because technology is empowering them to change how they interact with everything, you are falling behind. If you went to a party, passed out your business cards and yelled, "Come buy my stuff," do you think you would be popular? Well, no. It is the same in social media. You have to build real value for the listeners you want to attract and you have to be authentic. Here is the best news:  With a little planning, you can develop your own social media plan that will truly help you build actually important relationships with key social media participators in your market.  

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: Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE .

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