You Could Just Hand Over Social Media To Bob In The Marketing Dept.
July 31, 2012
"Believe it or not, there are people out there actually figuring out some really complicated shit for companies who need to radically transform their ways to deal with [social media and this] new world of constant two-way communication, and are smart enough to realize it."
- Rick Webb/Investor, Co-Founder and former COO The Barbarian Group
That was a great quote addressing the notion that some people chalk up the social (and digital) space to "basic marketing and customer service." But navigating through this open, connected, and cluttered world is far from basic or simple.
The complexity of social and digital platforms and the strategic fundamentals it takes to become a true social brand requires full-time thinking and monitoring. (Yes, it's more than just sharing meme's, asking superficial questions, and "pinging" the same post to different platforms.)
As an industry, Radio knows we have a new league of consumers and a new kind of distribution - so all stations pretty much "check off" that they are in the digital and social space.
But for the most part, these platforms are either handed off to random people to post silly things or just not being monitored at all – void of any meaningful involvement.
And perhaps the resistance to fully embrace social and some digital is out of fear – knowing there's a chance of getting "dinged" in the ratings if a PPM panelist or diary holder leaves the FM/AM stick for one of these distribution channels we provide that is not encoded or acceptable by reporting standards.
So, right or wrong, many in radio see the way to stay alive is to solely focus on how to play to the ratings methodology to gauge success (and sell to clients,) all the while, not fighting to become fully involved in other areas, and relinquishing new opportunities for (non-radio) competitors to tap into our fans.
It's almost reminiscent of that great movie line from "The Color Purple," when Cellie tells Nettie, "I don't know how to fight, all I know how to do is to stay alive."
But radio can do more than just "stay alive." It starts with an understanding that new platforms are not going to 'cannibalize' the audience nor are areas such as social media a time suck. Over 57,000 radio fans told Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 8 that they spend a great deal of their time on Facebook (and with their mobile phones.)
So, it's time to learn how to fight and prosper – not just survive.
But who figures this out for you?
As Rick Webb adds, "You're smart and you're busy. Hopefully, you've realized Social Media matters, but you can hardly do it yourself. Then who does it? I mean, I guess you could just hand it to Bob, over there in the marketing department. That might work. (That was sarcasm. Please don't hand it over to Bob.)
It may be time for an internal audit to identify staffers who can step up and give your brand the full-time involvement that's needed to speak in a singular voice and apply effective tactics. Find people who can help balance your focus then start with the following steps:
- Study how each platform is built and why your fans use each one. Then align that with what each channel can do to meet your needs.
- What is the fan's "Return On Involvement" with your brand in the social/digital arena? (If you don't know that, you can't truly calculate your return.)
- Who's speaking for your brand? Dialogue on social sites, texting, and email contributes to the experience people have with your station. The only communications tolerated and enjoyed by consumers today are those that are appropriate, timely, and typically not about you.
- How does your brand serve? Is it respecting the factors that motivate why fans use their preferred platforms? Are you fitting into their world, rather than forcing them into yours?
- Analyze patterns on your digital and social properties as well as your competition, and create templates of what works and refine what didn't with a metrics and monitoring system.
- And most importantly, as you may have heard me say many times before at speaking engagements or have read here on "Merge," use the assets you rent (social) to strengthen the assets you own (FM/AM stick, website, database, etc…)
We all know radio has heady goals -- financial and ratings – that require attention and focus. But when we fail to identify how to properly use social media and digital platforms (or just give it to "Bob,") the ROI – Return On Involvement – will surely disappoint.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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