Does Your Radio Station Need To Hire A Social Media Manager?
January 27, 2015
There's no question -- your radio station definitely needs staff members who know how to manage social media. The question is; should you hire somebody exclusively for that role? Or should those duties be rolled into a larger role? Or can you simply fold social media into the duties of your existing staff?
What is the best way to set up your team?
To answer this question, we need to understand the role of social media in the overall strategy of the radio station. Too often, radio stations engage in social media simply because they think they have to. "Everybody else is doing it, so we should too." You should not engage in social media just because other people do. Your radio station should use social media because it helps the station achieve its goals.
The primary goal, of course, is to generate revenue. (Some might argue that the goal is to create a great on-air product. I'd argue that this is the means by which you generate revenue; it is not the ends.) So how does social media help your station generate revenue?
Some people will answer this question by saying "branding." Run from these people as fast as you can. They will lead you astray.
Does social media contribute to your station's brand? Absolutely.
Is that the primary purpose of social media? Absolutely not.
"Branding" is a nebulous catch-all term. Too often, people use it to justify the importance of social media when they are unable to draw a clear connection between a station's social media activity and its ratings (and, by extension, its revenue). In other words, people often say social media is important for "branding" when they don't really know how to explain why it's important.
In their defense, it is very difficult to draw the connection between social media and a radio station's revenue and ratings. In fact, it's harder for radio to measure the impact of social media on its revenue than it is for many other industries. This is because when we switch from social networks to radio stations, listeners are not just switching from one software program to another.
They're also switching hardware.
People are moving from their computer (or smartphone or tablet) to their radio. There are web-based tools like Google Analytics that can measure the impact of social media across different websites, but nothing that can do it across different types of hardware. Nielsen certainly isn't a sophisticated enough tool to measure the impact of social media on your station's ratings.
So if we can't measure the impact of social media on ratings, how should we measure it? And how do we know if social media management warrants its own position on your staff?
The answer is that social media plays a key role in your radio station's content marketing strategy, and that content marketing can have a measurable impact on your radio station's ratings. (Well…"more measureable." The problem here is that Nielsen just isn't a very accurate measurement tool, period.) In other words, social media plays a very important role in your station's overall strategy, but it is only going to be valuable if you also have the other components in that strategy in place. What are those other components?
First and most importantly: online content. You need to have something to share on social media. Think of social media like billboards. You wouldn't pay to put up billboards on the side of the road without putting music and DJs on your radio station first. Why would you use social media without putting content on your website?
It is not good enough to share content from other websites. This is like putting up billboards for other radio stations! Don't get me wrong, it's okay to share other great links here and there. But this does not contribute to your radio station's ultimate goal -- generating revenue. Your station needs to be creating its own original online content.
Once listeners click on a link to your awesome website content that you shared through social media, they will be taken back to your website. Here, you want them to do something. What? That's entirely up to you. Maybe you want them to sign up for your email list, click on an ad, or buy tickets to your concert. These are your station website's goals, and when people complete one of them, we call it a "goal conversion." Whatever your website's goals are, you ultimately should be able to connect them back to your revenue. This means that in addition to social media management and online content creation, you need a person on your staff who is responsible for measuring your website and optimizing it to maximize the number of conversions.
On top of that, you will also want somebody to design email campaigns to recycle older online content. You will want to optimize all of your online content for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! And you will want to incorporate text messaging into your online strategy.
In other words, to implement an effective online strategy, your station needs to perform all of these duties:
- Online content creation
- Social media management
- Search engine optimization
- Website analytics
- Website usability
- Email marketing
- Text message marketing
If you are setting your staff up to only cover some of these duties, your social media efforts will not see demonstrable results. Many large companies have staff positions or even teams dedicated to each of these duties. You have a few options for each of these duties: you can create a dedicated position for them, you can train existing staff to do them, or you can outsource them. The right mix will vary from station to station.
So do you need a social media manager? The answer is a resounding "Maybe." But that's not all that you need.