Radio Is An Emotional Attachment, Offer Fans A Real Return On Involvement
August 14, 2012
Return On Involvement (the new ROI) is something we started talking about here on Merge a couple of weeks ago. While last week's examples of real fan involvement with Google Plus Hangouts via YouTube and your radio station's mobile app were creative, cool ideas – there's one element in this social and digital space that is the easiest to execute, and that offers fans a true "ROI," Return on Involvement – yet is the most underestimated.
It's as simple as this: allowing your fans to feel like they have been heard, a.k.a. "Acknowledgement."
So this week, I wanted to show you examples of what that looks like – a focus on what it's like for fans to feel truly connected with their favorite radio stations and personalities – as well as what stations get in return when there's a real sense of involvement.
Let's start with Instragram, a platform that many in radio are asking whether they should be on it or not. There's more to Instagram than just the Facebook purchase – in fact, that should tell you something.
WRIF/Detroit afternoon jock Meltdown and 91X/San Diego have a great behind-the-scenes "picture trail" on Instagram. What makes these pictures meaningful is that fans get to experience these "peeks behind the curtain" on their preferred platform.
(It's still important to create community with these types of pictures on the station's website – but the more fragmented fans become – it's equally significant to also be where the fans are and not force them to be where we would prefer them to be.)
And offering fans rare views from events isn't all you can do with Instagram.
As you see below, whether it's Meltdown setting a listening occasion or the (very funny) conversation that 91X's Halloran is having with fans – this involvement also has another important element to it. They use Instagram (a space we "rent") to "pinball" fans back to the FM stick (the space we "own") - a smart social media application that has direct benefit to the brand.
It's a similar situation for radio stations and talent that use Twitter.
Even though over 57,000 radio fans told Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 8 that they are not really into Twitter - only providing about a quarter of the reach of Facebook (format exceptions are Sports, Top 40 and Alternative), it's still necessary for stations to establish perspective and direction for the platform. No matter how small the fan percentage is on Twitter – we should still find time to serve.
That's what New York/Z100's afternoon talent J.J. Kincaid and Minneapolis/K 102's Wake Up Crew, Donna and Muss do. Never underestimate the excitement fans get when they are acknowledged by their favorite radio talent on their preferred platform.
It's really where a fan's investment of listening to the station every day pays off. J.J. and Donna & Muss validate their fans' loyalty when they take the time to respond.
This acknowledgement piece is crucial when attempting to build a social brand. It gives fans a sense that you are present and connected.
There must be a "Return On Involvement" for the fans.
Last week, WCSX/Detroit presented "Pure Michigan Day," showcasing artists from the Great Lakes State – Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk, Stevie Wonder, and many others. It was remarkable to search out WCSX on Facebook and watch hundreds of fans talking about this on-air event online.
A key reason why this special day was a social phenomenon is because WCSX involves its fans in everything they do - so in return, social listeners naturally talk about them when something significant happens.
Serving and strengthening fan involvement is at the heart of digital and social success.
It's not enough to just be on the platforms, pushing stuff out.
The brands and talent that stand out are the ones that offer real "ROI," Return On Involvement. They are the ones that continue to earn permission to be in the social and digital lives of their fans.
Do an "acknowledgement audit" for your brand and then ask yourself – are you more focused on your product and what you have to say – or are you more dedicated to serving your fans and giving them the experience they desire?
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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