Trends for 2013 - Look Beyond Facebook and Embrace Fragmentation
December 4, 2012
Because some brands haven't been able to enjoy the fruits of Facebook – partly because they really don't know what to do with it besides common "push" tactics – take the portion of today's headline above that reads, "Look Beyond Facebook" lightly.
Facebook is still radio's best social bet in serving the most fans and strengthening the assets you own. But moving forward, remember that as long as we are tenants who are essentially "squatting" on Facebook (and not even paying to be there), Zuckerberg ("the landlord") has little need for you on his property.
He – justifiably so – needs to keep hacking away at his platform to perfect and bulletproof it so that he ensures his investors and paid partners earn a strong return. He's also working hard to maintain dominance in the social space as new challenges emerge.
So, because most radio brands have no intention of creating a marketing budget for Facebook, Zuckerberg's actions in 2012 alone should tip you off that it's going to get even harder to use his site effectively for free.
That doesn't mean you should drop Facebook. There are still plenty of benefits to derive from this mega-social site. The trend simply suggests that smart brands should look ahead and think beyond Facebook.
And it's not just about the ever changing nature of Facebook. There's something else going on:
There are untapped, smaller chunks of fans all over the place.
Whether it's small groups of brand advocates I see on Instagram or the fraction of followers who actually tweet you on Twitter, there's a portion of your audience who love to talk about your station and its personalities – but have gravitated towards platforms less popular than Facebook.
These groups of fans typically do not get acknowledged, perhaps because they aren't a part of a huge cume number – the type that radio always goes for. They are small, fragmented parts of your fan base.
And they are important consumers that can help you grow.
Radio has a tendency to dismiss these small sects of fans and I understand why. We tend to rely on using bulk numbers – often superficially – to do "caller 9" type tactics. And as a former Program Director, I get it. Quantity is all that mattered to me, too.
But I wish I knew then what I know now.
The real win is in creating unexpected moments for fans – one at time - and where they will appreciate it most – on their preferred platforms.
There's nothing really wrong with a "traditional mass cume mentality," because that can lead to the creation of listening occasions.
Just don't dismiss fragmentation and its strengths.
The core philosophical tenets of brand building and fan development have changed. Today is more about carrying the belief that every person counts, and for brands to find new ways of fitting in their fans' social and digital world and emulating their dialogue.
As I work with Jacobs Media clients, it's evident that growing a social fan base is a must. But I have also seen that it only works if the station is a "social brand" – one that embraces smaller groups and communities of fans, is willing to offer consistent acknowledgement, and committed to creating moments of unexpectedness on the fans preferred platforms – not ours.
The key to a great 2013 is to let go of the common mindset, respect the trends, and never allow the frenetic energy of each day distract you from creating a cohesive vision digitally and socially that helps differentiate you from your competitors and that keeps your brand in the hands (and the hearts) of the fans.
I would love to keep in touch with you over the holidays. You could join me on Twitter at @lorilewis or let me know the platform you prefer in the comment section below and we can connect there.
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