Radio & Social Etiquette. One-Night Stands or Relationships?
May 10, 2011
A brief exchange with my friend Dave Savage had me thinking all week about radio and social etiquette. Is it that we get too caught up inside our own radio bubble and we forget to consider what it's like to be a consumer?
Dave commented on last week's Merge: "Size Doesn't Matter, It's Caring That Counts". He wrote: "I've had so many brands and just plain old people that have begged to get more 'likes' or 'friends' to put them at some magic round number. It's pathetic. I always come back with the same comment, 'It's not the quantity, it's the quality.'
Dave adds: " A snake that escaped from the Bronx Zoo got how many followers? Not because that snake begged, but because the posts were entertaining. [Whatever happened to] extending the conversation we have with our listeners on-air, online."
Dave's right. We only deny our brands opportunity for a different type of relationship, a cooler connection with consumers, when we push or worse yet, engage in smothering tactics on our digital and social platforms.
Looking at the bigger picture, all that "begging" and contesting designed to increase our digital and social standings only carve out more "notches on our bedposts." Those tactics are more about "one-night stands" and less about cultivating and sustaining online and social brand loyalty -- long-term relationships.
Sometimes gimmicky tactics work to increase listening occasions in Arbitron, so it's understandable that stations default to these tried-and-true promotions. But when we're talking about digital and social channels, what works is quite different.
Socially, two of the main ingredients are authenticity and follow-through. Here's an example of those two elements in play. KISW/Seattle Morning Host B.J. Shea has found a way to leverage his digital and social platforms with his radio show to help increase ratings.
There's a great balance as depicted below:
Every morning, B.J. will have conversations around the morning program on various channels, including Twitter:
He also follows through with his audience. When they tweet him, he tweets back . Everyone gets a response:
B.J. also uses his blog to extend show topics beyond what he will talk about on the air. Because PPM is sensitive to talk, B.J. takes the conversation to his blog and uses Facebook as a gateway to expose his content to a broader audience:
There's an authenticity to B.J. in every bit of interaction he has with his audience.
I see the same thing from Bubba The Love Sponge. I worked with Bubba many years ago and he continues to impress me as he evolves digitally and socially, using his show to grow and influence these new channels. They don't push; they pull you in.
There are a growing number of examples within our industry, such as B.J. and Bubba, where you can see personalities taking the lead to illustrate how these digital and social channels can impact ratings while building relationships.
Not everyone has gotten the message, but if you're ready to accept that these channels present an incredible opportunity for connecting with the audience, then it's time to understand why the motivations behind these channels must be at the core of every brand's digital and social efforts.
Here are a few strategies to consider:
Be Part Of Their Conversation:
What are they talking about? You can get an understanding just by watching what your 'friends' on Facebook are chatting about. Rather than posting that "caller 9 wins a prize pack in 10 minutes," tap into Facebook's question feature and have a conversation with your audience. Do something to be part of their world, not to try to jam them into yours.
Become A Fan Of Saying Different Things On Different Channels
Tools like Tweetdeck are convenient to get a consistent message out to multiple sources, but they aren't necessary to use for every single interaction. Have balance. Create unique experiences on each channel.
I saw an example today where a radio personality sent a mobile Facebook message to her station's 'Like' page that said she was stuck in traffic. It was a great conversation starter. Listeners began commenting about where the problem was with questions such as "Should I wait to leave work?" Yet, there was no response from the DJ. We only deflate the excitement of interaction when we don't follow through.
Don't Stray From The Brand.
We end up confusing the experience with our stations when we position ourselves one way, but act different socially. Be consistent with who and what you are, and be true to our brand.
I've seen enough stations go up and down (and some simply go away) to come to the conclusion that cume growth doesn't always emanate from what's on the air, but by satisfying listeners who will ultimately share the passion they have for your brand.
Engagement is far more powerful than any "promo" you compose as a status update. They are considered ads by the audience.
In the end, to meet consumers' expectations means you must commit to one thing: Letting go of what you've been comfortable with, and embracing what's called "2.0" - an open dialogue between you and the consumer.
It's about being woven into the fabric of their daily lives and having their permission to do so. As my friend Dave says, "Engage me and I'm yours."
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