Radio Merging Social And Digital In The New Year
January 8, 2013
With 2013 upon us, it's another year for all of us to try new things, think differently, and look beyond what we already know to try and uncover what it is we don't yet know.
For example - the digital and social space – two areas that continue to develop right before our eyes.
We sure have seen lots of random acts of social in the past, which probably stems from a lack of perspective – because without perspective, there is no real direction.
I think the most perspective many have in the social space revolves around those value propositions everyone talks about – overused buzzwords like "engagement" or "going viral."
But to summarize how social media contributes to the bottom line, you can sum it up in two words:
Audience perception of a radio brand has a bottom line effect, and in this time where many stations have lost marketing budgets, the opportunity to build on emotional capital lies within social (and digital) tools.
Yet, the biggest mistake that brands make is in the approach, and that comes from that lack of perspective. Many radio stations apply the same traditional tactics they used (or still use) with direct marketing pieces, billboards and TV ads onto their social and digital assets.
However the fundamentals of brand building and fan development have changed. A whole new skill set is required. And in order to derive any value from the social and digital space - the first step is to decide how much time you really want to invest in it.
There's no right or wrong answer here. Social is just a space where your return actually comes from your involvement – so you really can't phone this stuff in (as in the random posts/tweets we see.) It just doesn't work.
With a fresh new year ahead, you'll want to decide now the purpose of social for your brand. Is it to serve your fans and strengthen the assets you own or is it to simply serve as a place-holder/promotional device?
There's really very little in between – it's one or the other.
If it's the former, here are three areas to start with to gain real intelligence:
Education – Social is about acknowledgement, great moments of unexpectedness, and liquid content – the stuff that ignites contagious emotion.
But not everyone can pull this off. This is still one of my favorite examples – from KFOX/San Francisco. They did a great job fitting into their audiences' social space by emulating their fans' dialogue when the Giants won the World Series.
It's all in the approach.
Training - Believe me, just because someone has a Facebook profile of their own, it doesn't equate to having the necessary skill for speaking for a brand socially. It's time we do away with that misconception.
It's not just about posting socially but monitoring, too. They should know what to do with fans when they find them talking about us – like this funny post from a fan of WRIF/Detroit.
Understand how to capitalize online sentiment:
Maturity – Those who speak for your brand socially must be required to have enough business sense to respect your station's history – how it was built, what it took to build, and its voice. That doesn't mean hiring vanilla, stiff social mouthpieces.
You need personality to pull off social, and Taco Bell is a great example of this:
Taco Bell is a great brand to watch to connect to what it means speaking in that singular (and for them snarky) voice when they do respond to fans.
There's no rule that says you have to do any of this "social stuff."
But from my perspective of being in the trenches with some of radio's greatest brands and interacting with their audience, I closely watch how the fans participate socially.
And that makes me worry.
I see radio fans on their preferred social platforms (and apps) with or without their favorite radio station. They aren't waiting for you – they are jumping in. And just like any relationship, the more they start getting attention from someone else – like another radio station – the more likely they are to stray.
This is your fans' social (and digital) behavior today. They are about being acknowledged.
With the proper perspective, being social (not just doing it) can develop better fan relationships to ensure we keep our stations in the hands and the hearts of the fans.
We'll talk about fan development and how that lends to emotional capital a lot in 2013. I'm on Twitter @lorilewis if you'd like to reach out.
Here's to a great New Year!
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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