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Loyd Ford

How Social Media Can Save Your Job


Consumers have more direct power and choice than at any time in human history because of technology available to people at all economic levels.

A very mature U.S. economy now means that radio companies are always looking for creative ways to cut costs and increase profits for reasons we all know. Your on-air, social media, and online presence has a value. You should find out what it is, work to grow it, and make sure the company sees how valuable you are while further monetizing it for yourself without running afoul of company policy. And you should get busy now because radio as you know it will continue to change faster than ever.

If you are a personality, here are some new considerations for your career:

1. The first thing you must do is make certain you excel at all areas of your job in your local radio station and cluster, including new things you’ve been asked to do. Also, ask for more because managers hate spending extra time and favors on people they have to consistently sweep behind just to get them to do their job. Besides, where we are going you need to be exceptional in all areas of what your employer asks because you are ultimately looking to grow your value for them and then beyond them, too. This is doing more than being good on-air and embracing social media and sales.
2. Meet with your boss (if possible, include the market manager) and make it clear that you want to increase your value to the company. Keep in mind this may be an unexpected experience for them because they are used to employees who try not to get noticed and stay away from aggressive career management. Wrap your approach in growing value for the company and making their jobs easier. Ask questions about the company policies as they relate to your job, your profile in the market, and what kinds of things that you may be able to do “outside” of your regular job. (I am aware of how much additional work you are already doing; I am only speaking to those people who want to continue to have a future they may depend on as a personality or content provider.) Also, ask about research that may have been done recently on local personalities and ask to see that material. Tread lightly here, understanding the company may not want to share and you shouldn’t push it if they refuse. You do not want to put yourself in an adversarial conflict with your employer. You’re simply asking questions to see what additional self-management of your career could produce results in your current job, and additional ways you can expand your influence and income without only depending on your employer.
3. Research artist managers and those who manage entertainment personalities. These managers are paid by the artists, TV stars, movie stars and ad spokespeople to “maximize career path” and essentially manage growth opportunities for their clients. You should learn to think like these managers because your public profile is an asset that must be managed for growth.
4. Look for new ways to increase your local fame. Your goal is to expose your unique personality and brand to people other than existing listeners and advertisers so you can grow your personal revenue value. You can invest in this by blogging about a passion that puts you in front of groups of people passionate about that cause, hobby, or subject, or it could mean securing a deal to write a column for a local, free online or print magazine, or even the old newspaper. These activities could also turn into dollars for you immediately or later. As long as your activity is within the values of the audience your broadcast company wants to attract, you could create great benefit for them as well, and actually be seen as a great employee! 
5. Understanding what these entertainment managers do (Step 3 above) to enhance and extend the careers of their clients is critical to developing other revenue streams for the clients of your station and company, but you should also be focused on personal revenue in these areas. There is no time like right now to work (with your local management, including sales management and sales team) to clear yourself for opportunities to further monetize your talents and profile in other ways that may also enhance your local fame and value to the company, too. This could go as far as partnering with someone who has a high-profile local business or even launching your own business outside of your working hours with your brand name. You’ll need to be sensitive to management, the company, and other employees to make sure you are always over-achieving expectations within the radio company. Otherwise, people may begin to talk with jealousy about how you care more about your other business than you do radio. This is a careful balancing act but it can be a bridge to the future that you’ll need in tomorrow’s radio environment, and create a path to include more diversity in income.

Today, you must begin using and enhancing your on-air profile, your publicity in your market (appearances on TV and in other local media, online as well as blogging and social media), to grow your personal local brand, develop deepening local revenue for yourself, and make your value to the company much more obvious (even from 30,000 feet). This strengthens the case for why you shouldn’t be cut in the next round of cost savings. More than this, looking beyond only being famous because you are on the air and looking at yourself as a local public brand that must be managed for growth, will help you redefine your career path for a longer and more stable time horizon in the career you love.

Loyd Ford is the digital revenue, direct marketing, ratings and social media strategist for Rainmaker Pathway and Americalist Direct Marketing. Loyd has programmed very successful radio brands in markets of all sizes, including KRMD AM & FM in Shreveport, and WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte and WBEE in Rochester, NY. Learn more about Loyd here: Get his radio-social media content sent directly to your smart phone or email for free here: Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE.  Visit his Facebook radio social media page HERE.

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