The End Of Best Practices
August 5, 2014
I've never been a fan of "best practices." Perhaps it's because the term itself speaks to the lazier side of us. Rather than getting muddy in the trenches and hacking our way towards personalizing each fan's experience with our brands, we have a tendency to look for a list of "silver bullets" that will help us win.
But in the social and digital space, relying too heavily on what worked once or twice somewhere else stunts the opportunity to create things that are new and exciting. And on top of that, social is so fluid, that by the time you finish reading a "best practices" list, it's probably already dated.
It's time we start disrupting the creative process so that we're truly differentiating our stations from the pack, working on reaching the demo's younger end (without looking like we're trying), and making fans feel like they matter.
And we can do all of that without "best practices."
For example, want to communicate with the younger portion of your fan base? Jump on Snapchat and naturally find your way.
XTRA/(91X) San Diego/Program Director, Christy Taylor, is really having fun with the social app – using it to show us, the audience of her station, what it feels like to be at all of the music events she attends – most recently, the downpour at Lollapalooza:
But you won't find this on a "best practices list."
Because this is about being unpolished and finding how we fit in. The payoff is communicating with the younger fans, showing them we're willing to use their preferred platforms, and building memory muscle along the way.
Humanizing a brand in the social space isn't easy. But when you take chances and focus more on being "flawsome," (to be flawed and awesome simultaneously), rather than looking over a list of what might work, you'll pull great moments off.
Like how KIKN/Sioux Falls morning host Dan Collins took a big topic that people were sharing socially and put his own local twist to it:
The video (at print time) has over 4.4 million views. It was something so unique that Buzzfeed.com glommed onto it, elevating Dan's reach.
This wasn't on a "best practice" list, either.
Rather it was a radio talent coming at social and digital from a user experience angle, not focusing on safe and passive tactics.
"Best practices" may get the job done for you, and I don't want to suggest you drop what's working. But keep in mind the human element attached to the social space. That alone makes social more about personal fundamentals than about tactical gimmicks and "dos and don'ts."
And when you get the fundamentals of social down, there'll be no need for someone else's "best practices." That's because the core tenets of your brand will be about acknowledging fans, making them feel like they matter, being present and connected, and always hacking.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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