In Many Ways, Social Is The Entry Point To You
January 13, 2015
With nearly every school in and around metro Detroit closing last week due to sub-zero wind chills, there was one school that declined to call it a "snow day." That school happened to be West Bloomfield High School, where my daughter attends.
It was a lesson learned in how this much younger generation wants their information.
Students sat around and waited all night on Twitter to look for their school closing tweet -- but as the hours went by -- frustrations set in. They couldn't believe they were going to be the only school in the area that would likely have classes the next day. (You remember how great snow days were, right?)
So, the younger generation did what it enjoys most -- glommed onto social to vent.
Someone started the hashtag,"#BeforeWBCloses," and soon thereafter it was trending in Michigan.
And what they loved even more than trending on Twitter, the national news covered the story. Their voices were heard. It didn't change anything -- but they were heard and oftentimes, that's what matters most.
As I read some of the tweets and laughed, I couldn't help but think how once again things have changed - and is radio really paying attention to the audience behavior and habits?
The kids have no interest in waiting for a radio station to read a list of school closings that night or especially in the morning. You're fooling yourself if you think they have the patience to wait for you to read a list.
They are everywhere online trying to get that information first, especially socially.
But just because kids may no longer be sitting around the radio waiting to hear if their school is closed, it doesn't mean they don't still value radio or the information we offer.
I see it every day. They very much value radio. What this means is that it's a new day - new workflows are required.
To a portion of your audience, social is likely the entry point now. So why not get on Twitter, interact with them as schools are announcing they will be closed, or whatever the hot topic is, and build on radio's authority in the way they want it?
Right now more than ever, we need to be nimble and keep our eye on where the audience is and where they are going to be. That's why projects like Jacobs Media's Techsurvey11 are important. They provide information that allows you to make better strategic decisions about how to communicate to the fans.
If we don't change the ways in which we communicate with the audience, we're just making it easier for any other digital or broadcast competitor to woo them away.
To be successful in real time, we have to have the mindset of always on and ready to properly react. We also have to let go of the way "we've always done it."
Generation Z and younger Millennials wants and needs are the same as prior generations. The only difference is how they want their information. Their wants and needs are amplified because of today's social culture.
We're all getting schooled here. The goal is to extract knowledge and learn from everyone around us. This was a great lesson in what the budding portion of the fan base is doing when they want information in real time.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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