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.

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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?