Ten Questions Not To Ask A Social Media Panel In 2013
February 12, 2013
I ran across an article the other day written by David Berkowitz, VP/Emerging Media with 360i. The article was written back in 2008 titled, "Ten Questions Not To Ask A Social Media Panel." David was hoping to put to rest the typical (and quite frankly boring) questions that get asked everyday about social media – by the press and at conferences.
His intention was to get everyone thinking deeper - asking more about what's working and why, rather than those cumbersome questions such as:
"How are you measuring social media?"
David writes that the likely answers will be, "It depends." or "It's all about branding." "You can't use the same metrics as you do for other online media campaigns." You can get a list of all the metrics panelists are tracking, but a panel won't have time to address what all of those metrics really mean for marketers."
That question (and the ones below) are fair to ask, but they are either impossible to answer in sound bites (which is how all good panelists speak) or the question does not apply to the core of brand building in the social space.
So now that we're at the start of the annual "Radio Summit Season," I'd like to offer my own "Ten Questions Not To Ask," along with the reasons why, in hopes to keep all those social media sessions stimulating.
As someone who will be honored to speak at several industry summits, corporate events, and state broadcaster conferences, perhaps we can get a better dialogue going by not asking these same tired questions:
1) How do radio stations make money from their Facebook "Like" page?
Stop it, please. Your radio station is not a retail store and you don't even "own" the platform those status updates you may sell exist on. You want to make money off Facebook? Start becoming a solutions provider for clients who need to understand how it's built.
2) How do you increase ratings with social media?
There are too many moving parts to talk about that contribute to successfully "pinballing" social into listening occasions for a panel with limited time to explain. But I will say the idea of social and higher ratings starts with the right focus and that is to serve the fan – not the station. Start there.
3) What are social media's "best practices?"
The first time I heard that question I thought about a PD saying, "Just give me five 'best practices' for running a radio station and I can take it from there." That would never be acceptable.
The fact that social media costs nothing to use lends to the misconception that it's easy to master – that anyone who "knows social" can do this. But quite frankly – free does not equate to easy.
There are some really smart people figuring out some complicated stuff. And it's not "best practices" that got them there.
4) What do you think about jocks having their own Facebook "Like" pages?
It all depends. And it's all about what's in your company's policies. Panelists can't go there. But in order to focus on impact, it's smarter to build on your station's personality one page at time.
5) We can't be on every social platform, so which one is the best to be on?
That answer lies within your own social strategy, hopefully from research on where your fans go when they aren't listening to you, and chances are it goes beyond Facebook.
6) What do you think about sending the same message to all of the different social sites we use?
Please rethink this. Offer fans unique experiences per platform. You'll be more effective.
7) What is the worth of a "Like" or "Follower?"
What are you doing with them? Are they actively retelling your station's story? Or not? A passive social fan base has little worth.
8) We have (X) amount of "Likes" on Facebook/Instagram and (X) amount of followers on Twitter. Is that good?
Panelists will have no idea because "Likes" and "Followers" are just vanity metrics, especially if you don't have a strategy. We don't know how you nabbed those fans. Answers will vary by if you racked them up with bribes (contesting) or from genuine exchange and interaction.
9) How do we get more "Likes" and "Followers?"
Building community online isn't easy because earning trust isn't a simple process. Just because radio has strong, traditional brands doesn't mean we are entitled to an active social fan base.
The answer to this involves a deeper understanding of your audience.
And last but not least – the mother of all tiresome questions:
10) What's the "ROI" of social media?
This is the same question Berkowitz requested folks to stop asking back in 2008.
If you are not paying to be on social sites, there IS no investment. Perhaps what you're really trying to ask is, "What is our return on involvement?"
And with that, you'll have to come to your own conclusion by asking yourself, "How involved are you in complementing the strength and personality of your brand socially?"
I can help you with a starting point to that answer. What we learned from Jacobs Media's Techsurvey8 – (and what we'll get from Techsurvey9) is that two of the main strengths of radio brands are that we provide an escape and we can lift moods.
That is what we are "hired" to do, on-air and now, socially. It's what Harvard Professor and one of the best minds in management thinking, Clayton Christensen, talks about.
What are your fans "hiring" you to do for them?
You will have a better grip on your "return" when you're fully involved socially and completing the jobs you're "hired" to do.
In the end, if you want a lively panel – ask the panelists about what they love – and why. You're likely to get a peek into their war chest and just how their strategic minds work.
I hope to see you at The Worldwide Radio Summit May 3rd and 4th. The agenda is coming together nicely and it's important for our industry to hold these events and for us to attend.
We get to talk with each other, learn and grow as a business. And I'm looking forward to your great questions. Tweet me anytime @lorilewis.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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