Let’s get digital: Social Media in the Radio World

The current state of social media in the radio world is one that is constantly evolving. Radio stations are faced with the challenge of connecting with their listening audiences in a way that is drastically different than the way they approach that connection over the air. While radio stations are used to strategically planning every aspect of what happens on the air, social networking for most radio stations and radio personalities is a new frontier.

Jacobs Media Digital and Social Media Strategist Lori Lewis says that “Understanding what it takes to build and sustain an active social fan base is critical to broadcast radio, as the social space grows and becomes an even bigger part of people’s lives.” I’d have to agree with this statement but the question from almost every air talent I’ve talked to is “ok…but how?”

The social world give stations the opportunity to expand their brand from the airwaves to into the digital platform but in many respects the audience they hope to reach doesn’t translate to the different platforms. As Joan Mancuso and Karen Stuth of Marketing Insights point out that if your company is targeting the 18-34 year old demo you may be missing out “on a key social media demographic group: seniors. People over the age of 65 are the fastest growing demographic group on social media, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.” So stations are faced with trying target their posts to either the core demo or push it toward the “social friendly” senior demo.

So how do we do it? Right now many radio stations and personalities (myself included) are quite simply missing the mark. Lori Lewis explained in an article for AllAccess.com that “Twitter, for example, beyond the real time news and information that’s shared every day — has humor and snark, a playfulness that transpires on this platform. Yet, all too often when a media brand gets traction on Twitter and starts trending, it’s typically frivolous, self-indulgent, forgettable contesting.” Stations need to interact with their fans and get them talking about your brand. A great way to do this is by creating memorable moments and making their fans feel like they have a voice and they matter. Are you going to be at a concert? Make it a social event. Find out where your listeners are and go say hi. Pay attention to what they’re talking about and get involved in the conversation. Every little bit helps.

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Source: Lori Lewis “The Holy Crap Metric”

As an air talent we’re geared toward the quality of our breaks, the tease of an upcoming story, the latest and greatest contest and often times the social post comes secondary. We need to put in the effort to plan a post as well as we do our on air components. Using a site like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule your posts ahead of time are helpful. I’ve found that doing this has helped our staff be able to have better quality posts on our personal pages as well as on the company accounts. In the end you don’t want to have passive users of social media you want them to be engaged and to share your content.

The struggle still exists with some platforms though. The new restrictions on Facebook and who will see what from business pages makes it very important for your content to be worth the listener to share it. Facebook explained their decision to change how posts are displayed in news feeds by sayingPeople told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.” This means stations have to either get the views “organically” or promote the posts which can be costly and generally not in your stations budget.

One of the best quotes I’ve seen about engaging your audience is from Mark Ramsey You do it by creating unique and compelling content and atomizing the best of that content across social platforms.” If it’s well thought out, compelling and not just something slapped together I think it has the ability to engage our listeners and in the end it will show up by creating a stronger brand and hopefully in the ever important ratings book!

HootModo: Social Media Management

Social Media Management at first glance can seem like a complicated mess of apps and having to copy and paste your posts from one platform to the next. This is especially difficult if you work in the radio industry and you’re trying to do all of this and host your air shift and the same time. Thankfully there is an easier way to get the most of out the time you have to make those posts on social media.

Pagemodo & Hootsuite are social media management platforms that are mostly a one stop shop for managing almost all of your social accounts from one place. These programs let you enter the content you wish to post and select which account it needs to post on all from their home screens. They also offer a free and paid version of their apps so they are an inexpensive way to stay on top of your social media without have to constantly copy and paste the content you wish to share on multiple accounts.

There are of course pros & cons with each system. As Ian Anderson Gray of IAG.me points out Hootsuite helps “you keep track and manage your many social network channels. It can enable you to monitor what people are saying about your brand and help you respond instantly. You can view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and post updates or reply directly.” It allows you to have a team of people easily work on your social media within the platform. A feature that I really like is that it has a space for draft messages that can store message for you that come in handy when you’re responding to frequently asked questions. Another really important feature is that it lets you schedule posts to send at a later date so your business can be constantly in front of clients without having to be at your computer all hours of the day.

Hootsuite though does have some draw backs including not having the ability to design your facebook page and have custom tabs added to your page. Social Media Trainer Sara Cole says, Pagemodo offers something that Hootsuite does not saying that Pagemodo “provides templates and ideas for content creation. Very helpful. Also, has the ability to enlarge photos for Facebook”. Which can be very helpful if you’re stuck in a rut and just don’t know what to post that day! Ian Anderson Gray also mentions that if you want the ability to add custom short URL’s for the page (something bitly does for free) you’ll have to pay to do that in Hootsuite.

Pagemodo does offer some cool features to their platform like the ability to make custom headers for your Facebook page right from the site. It has a number of different templates that can be used as well that you upload your own content to.

A draw back to Pagemodo is that it is a Facebook only application. If you have a Twitter and or Google+ account, you won’t be able to manage these accounts from the same screen like you would be able to do with Hootsuite and would have to utilize another platform like TweetDeck.

One feature that I would like to see both platforms add is the ability to manage Instagram. If you’re balancing a business and a personal Instagram, it can be time consuming to keep logging in and out of the account on your phone. The Instagram app itself doesn’t have a feature to switch between accounts like Twitter does and it would be a huge help to upload photos via Hootsuite or Pagemodo.

Overall I like both apps and actually have used them both to manage social platforms. It really comes down to your personal preference and how many pages you’re trying to manage. You may need to purchase the upgrades and that can be expensive. But if you find the one that fits your needs it will save you tons of time in the end.