Future Implications

Social Media is changing seemingly every single day. Aps and platforms are updating with the latest and greatest feature and as a social media manager, you’re trying to figure out how to incorporate everything into your social strategy to connect with your core audience and grow your business.

If companies are slow to adapt or even worse, don’t adapt at all, it could really hurt their future business if they’re not putting themselves and their products where the consumer is. The idea of the traditional press release is dying according to Rachel Sprung of hubspot.com. She says “Consumers like to read information in a way that is easy to digest, and feels more natural — like news stories and blog posts.”

Rachel also says that a press release may not be a cost effective way of handling your business. Sprung writes “Posting one press release can cost hundreds of dollars, if not over a thousand dollars. Many times they are not picked up by journalists and are simply reposted on other websites. They have become a bit outdated as public relations relies more on building relationships with the media instead of sending out hundreds of emails with press releases to journalists you may not even know.”

Companies need to transition into the blogging world to “keep up with the joneses”. Anthony Carranza of SocialMediaToday.com shared an info-graphic for TheShelf.com that was really telling about where people were going to find information about products and how much they influenced their purchase.

infographic theself

See the complete info-graphic here

As you can see, consumers favored blogs right behind actual retail sites and brand sites when making a purchase decision. If your company isn’t blogging or isn’t doing it frequently enough you could be missing the boat.

With the simplicity of blog sites like word press or even blogs that can be built into existing websites, what’s holding you back?

Viral Marketing Initiatives

Viral. In my opinion one of the most over used words in marketing yet the one thing everyone is hoping to achieve. Many experts say that you can’t set out to make a viral video its just something that happens based on the reaction of viewers and with that I would definitely agree. Seb Royce, executive creative director at glue Isobar, said in an article with The Guardian“It is very difficult to say ‘I’m going to create a viral’ because a lot of things become viral by accident. When you make going viral an aim, things can go really awry.”

I think one of the most important things in a viral commercial video is that it has to have a bit of shock value or something you didn’t expect to see. One of my favorite examples is the Cardstore ad about the “World’s Toughest Job Interview” for Mothers Day. Already the title grabs your attention and when the man starts laying out the requirements, it sounds like someone would have to be crazy to accept it. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks. The Director of Operations position that they’re applying for? It’s a Mom’s position. Instantly it makes the viewer want to share it and call their own mom. According to AdWeek.com the video was shared 1.89 million times.

What makes a video go viral? Well Thales Teixeria of the Harvard Business Review thinks he knows

Important factors to consider according to HBR:
Prominent Branding- It puts off viewers
Use brand pulsing instead

People get bored right away
-Use joy and surprise as a hook

Ads that provide a stable emotional state aren’t effective
-Take the view on an emotional roller coaster

I found this very interesting from smartinsights.com

ViralMarketing
Now how do you get the shares? Well some companies use apps like commun.it to track potential customers and find out who their most valuable followers are on twitter. Others use an “unlock to share” plugin that gives you more content if you share a post.

So make them expect the unexpected and think outside the box!

You say tomato, I say…

In the last few days there has been a lot of talk of “salads” & “tomatoes” because of some comments made in a radio trade publications.  The comments came from long time radio consultant Keith Hill who told Country Aircheck “if you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out.” Hill went on to say  “the reason is mainstream country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75 percent, and women like male artists.”While I’m a fan of a good salad myself, I’m admittedly not a programmer or a music director.

Miranda1

Now, I don’t have the years of experience in the radio industry that Mr. Hill does, nor do I have access to the information he quotes in the article, but as a country listener and some who works in country radio, I have to disagree with removing females completely from country radio. From Mainstays like Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood to up starts like Kelsea Ballerini, Mickey Guyton and Maddie & Tae, some of the best acts and best up and coming acts in country music are female in my opinion.

I’m really impulsive when it comes to music. I either love it and want to listen to it over and over (which is the case with Old Dominion) or a song has to grow on me (I’m looking at you “Sangria” & “Kick The Dust Up“).

Here are some songs by female artists you need to watch out for in the coming months:

Singer/Songwriter Kelsea Ballerini

– She just released her debut cd “The First Time” on May 19, 2015. Here is one of my favorites from the album called “XO” written by Kelsea, Catt Gravitt & Gerald O’Brien

Singer/Songwriter Mickey Guyton

– Her new EP just came out. Mickey has a voice like we haven’t heard on country radio in awhile and I love it! Here is her debut single “Better Than You Left Me” written by Mickey, Jennifer Hanson, Jenn Schott & Nathan Chapman

Singer/ Songwriter Cam

– I had the opportunity to hear Cam live almost on accident. She was opening for Dan + Shay at Brick Street Bar in Oxford, OH and I happened to be working the show. She is a true powerhouse vocalist. Shes an accomplished writer who has even written for Miley Cyrus. Here is her debut single “My Mistake” written by Cam & Tyler Johnson

Singer/Songwriter Natalie Stovall

– I have had the chance to see Natalie perform with her band The Drive a few times and each time I’m left more and more impressed. Not only is she a great singer but a talented fiddle player as well. She stopped into my radio station to play a few songs and I was blown away. Here is “Baby Come On With It” written by Chris Destefano, Jerry Flowers, and Bobby Hamrick

These are just a some of the “tomatoes” aka supremely talented female artists to watch out for in country music in the coming months. Check out these talented artists and let me know if you find some you like!

Differentiation

Social Media can look like the Wild West at times. Every company is on it and they’re trying to get your attention, hold your attention and in the long run have you purchase a product. That’s also the fast food industry in a nut shell. So what happens when the two worlds meet? It can all start to get lost in the shuffle. It’s the struggle for two of the biggest company’s in the fast food industry Taco Bell & Wendy’s. They compete daily to not only get your money but your attention on social media.

Taco Bell shares a photo after their Cinco de Mayo promotion
Taco Bell shares a photo after their Cinco de Mayo promotion

Both Taco Bell & Wendy’s are engaging their fans on a number of different platforms. While they primarily are connecting with their fans on Facebook & Twitter, they also  maintain profiles on other platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Vine. They share similar ideas when it comes to how they want to connect to their fans. Brandon Rhoten, VP of Digital & Social Media for Wendy’s says “We’re trying to be your friend and someone you want to pay attention to in this very noisy space.” Taco Bell is doing the same while engaging their fans. “The main difference in strategy now vs. before is that what we are doing today in social media is real-time, and we listen and engage all the time,” according to Taco Bell Head of Social Media Nick Tran.

Wendy's Facebook post
Wendy’s Facebook post

Another tactic that both Taco Bell & Wendy’s are using is partnering with celebrities that are influential in their core demo. Taco Bell for example partnered with YouTuber JoshuaDTV for a few projects including the launch of the Quesalupa as well as the “Breakfast Defectors” campaign. Wendy’s is doing their own campaign with YouTubers Rhett & Link for a new drink campaign that will launch May 19th.

JoshuaDTV opens a crate full of Taco Bell "Breakfast Defector" items
JoshuaDTV opens a crate full of Taco Bell “Breakfast Defector” items

While the strategies are similar, how Taco Bell & Wendy’s achieve results is different. Wendy’s for example has more engagement on Facebook while Taco Bell archives more Twitter mentions.

Facebook activity October 1-29, 2014
Facebook activity October 1-29, 2014. Source: Adweek.com
Twitter activity for October 1-29, 2014. Source: adweek.com
Twitter activity for October 1-29, 2014. Source: adweek.com

Both companies maintain Instagram profiles but Taco Bell is much more active with their in-house created content. Taco Bell also is more effective with their campaigns. According to a report In 2013, Taco Bell ranked as No. 1 on DigitalCoCo’s Restaurant Social Media Index, trumping key competitors such as Wendy’s, McDonalds and Starbucks. Taco Bell is also using using the Vine platform more in their latest Breakfast Defectors campaign. They’re currently one of the better fast food franchises using Vine.

It really all comes down to differentiating yourself from the pack. For Taco Bell the strategy is a 3 level attack says Nick Tran “You can break down the type of content we share into three categories: The first is anything Taco Bell creates internally. The other type of content we share is whatever we co-create. This is when we collaborate with influencers and give them the tools to create their own content. The last is content curation, which is basically us amplifying interesting content from our social community.” By using USG or User Generated Content Taco Bell is turning their customers into a community.

Taco Bell
Taco Bell “Promposal” instagram post

Wendy’s is trying to differentiate themselves simply by being different. Brandon Rhoten says, “Taking something built for another medium, like an ad or a TV spot, and putting it on a social network is blasphemy. It just doesn’t work. People don’t pay attention to it, and they’re not interested in it. If you turn this thing people use to entertain themselves and have conversations with their friends into a purely promotional vehicle, you’re kind of making a mockery of it.” This idea has helped them engage more fans on their Facebook and grow the brand to be competitive in the market.

Wendy's Twitter post
Wendy’s Twitter post

Taco Bell: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

Wendy’s:  Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

Take a look at their profiles and let me know what stands out to you!

Best practices to kick start your brand

It seems like every day there is the latest and greatest social media tool to hit the market that you just have to use to grow your brand. Sure, some of them end up sticking around but when most staffs are spread thing to begin with (including my own) who has time to chase down the platform? You’ll make the profile, promote that you’re now on the platform and then try to maintain it on top of the other social media you’re already doing PLUS the other duties of your job?

I remember being told once my Program Director that yes, we do want to be where our listeners are, but what good is it to have a profile on every social platform if you’re not doing great work on all of them. It’s a point that has stuck with me. If you’re making boring content and just posting because your bosses say you need to post… who would want to follow or engage with you.

There are lots of ways to connect with the listeners outside of our traditional platform but I’m going to focus one two of the more personal ways Twitter and Blogging.

What are things that you can do to help increase the quality of your Twitter feed? Sharing cat photos all the time might not do the trick. However Professor Alfred Hermida does outline 10 of the best practices for Twitter:

The 10 best practices they identified are:

  1. Have a voice that is credible and reliable, but also personal and human
  2. Be generous in retweets and credit others
  3. Link to external material rather than simply broadcast your own content
  4. Listen and respond to others
  5. Provide information that adds value
  6. Seek out the views of users
  7. Promote the most interesting and useful content for audiences
  8. Use hashtags created by the Twitter community
  9. Include multimedia with tweets
  10. Link to other networks where a conversation is happening, such as Facebook

These are some of the key ways to engage your audience, make them part of the conversation and truly grow your station brand and your personal brand. It’s also for me one of the most entertaining parts of being on air is interacting with the listeners both during the show and throughout the day.

More great best practice advice from NJI Media
More great best practice advice from NJI Media

Blogging is something that radio personalities can use to share a little bit more of their personality and their likes/dislikes. For our station I blog about things in the community as well as in Country Music. It’s also an extension of the “Country Music News” segment that we have during the show each morning. Blogger Corey Eridon points out some things that can make it a little easier for you to get started and have the type of blog people want to read. She says successful bloggers read stuff that has nothing to do with their job because a variety of sources can help broaden your horizons. I think one of the pest points she makes is that successful bloggers don’t hide their personality which I think is really important to think about when you’re writing. We don’t hide our personality on-air. In fact the best on-air talent usually amplify their personality to 11 when on the air so why hide it in your blog?

how-to-use-a-free-hosted-blog-to-recruit-for-your-mlm

Those are just a few of the many ways to make compelling content for your platforms. What do you do that is creative or unique? The challenge is to go out and engage your audience! You might be surprised what you find.

Make Your Station Brand A Social Success

In Radio it’s not a matter of IF your brand should be social but how social your brand is and what platforms are the right platforms to be on. For the most part each format has a different target audience and that target audience may prefer one social platform over another.

For example a Talk Radio station is geared toward adults. Robert Unmacht who ran the Radio Book for Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) for 15 years says that “Men between the ages of 45 and 54” are the main demographic for this format. On the flip side a format like Top 40 or CHR as it’s also known is programmed for a demographic of 18- 34 year olds according to Unmacht.

Research by Business Insider at the end of 2014 indicated that while Facebook is still the most used social platform for Teens, Instagram has more prestige among that age group. Facebook also is used more be females than males according to the report. However Business Insider says that Twitter is being used by males and according to Pew found that 22% of men use Twitter, while only 15% of women do.

Facebook user breakdown from BusinessInsider.com
Facebook user breakdown from BusinessInsider.com

So with all this in mind what do you do if you’re the Program Director or Brand Manager of a radio station and you want to take your brand social? First you have to figure out your target audience and find out where they want to be communicated with. You also need to figure out HOW they want to be communicated with. Chances are… they don’t want another long wordy post on Facebook about the latest and greatest contest that you’re running or a promotion that your clients are doing. Your listeners want content that is local and relevant to them. I believe that.

As on-air personalities we need to take our unique position as someone who is (hopefully) part of someone’s almost daily life and relate information to them and connect on a one on one level. That being said you also have to be mindful to not fly off the handle and damage our brand and the brand of our station because the penalties can be severe. Radio host Anthony Cumia of the Sirius XM “Opie & Anthony Show” was fired after one such twitter tirade (His comments are NSFW).

Jacob Media Digital & Social Strategist Lori Lewis says it best “Bottom line: Social is an opportunity to show your brand’s soul and make the audience feel like they matter. Otherwise, you’re just a commodity in the social space, something we can all get anywhere else.” You always have to be “on” when interaction on social media even after your show is off the air. So the question is what will you do to show your brand’s soul?

iHeartRadio Revolution

The iHeartRadio App is the radio/ streaming service app from iHeart Media formally Clear Channel Communications. As described on the iHeartMedia web site “iHeartRadio is a free, all-in-one digital music service that gives users instant access to thousands of live radio stations from across the country and the ability to create commercial-free, custom music stations featuring songs from their favorite artist and similar music”.

A screen shot of the iHeartRadio app from bestvendor.com
A screen shot of the iHeartRadio app from bestvendor.com

This app truly revolutionized what a radio station mobile app could and should be. It provides access to all of the iHeartMedia radio stations across the country at the touch of a finger. The app was so successful and the branding of the product was so successful that Clear Channel Media has rebranded its company after the product and is now iHeartMedia. In a letter to investors iHeartMedia said “On Sept. 16, 2014, we announced the exciting news that we have become iHeartMedia, Inc. — reflecting our commitment to programming live content and entertainment across all media platforms. This name change is for branding purposes only.”

It’s one of the most successful social apps in history “iHeartRadio reached 20 million registered users, a milestone reached in only 13 months — faster than all other popular entertainment and communication platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Spotify and Instagram.”

I think what make it successful is the variety it offers and it also is interactive and fans can use it to vote on songs they like and even for the iHeartRadio awards. The success of the app is measured in downloads and the number of active users that the app enjoys.

The challenge that radio stations and media companies in general are facing is that if you’re not an iHeartRadio station or affiliated with the app how do you compete with it? The key is to be user friendly and interactive and try to localize your content. The station I work at is using the commotion app that allows people to stream the radio station as well as message within the app.

The most important thing in mobile and social apps is to adapt. What are things that you’d like to see in a radio mobile app?