Creating Deeper Listener Relationships
February 22, 2011
Today, we want to talk about using social media to form deeper relationships with your listeners.
This scares some talent. We've liked that barrier between us and them ... and we don't really feel comfortable letting these people peek into our off-air lives.
I will not condemn you for that. I will only say that your growth and potential will be limited by this reticence, and before you make up your mind, listen to what my friend, Steve Allan, has to say about the power of social media in your success.
Steve is a former award-winning programmer -- WODS, WBIG, WOMC -- among other super-stations he ran. He's worked with some of the best air talent in America.
Steve has taken the time to immerse himself in social media, trying to understand how it works, why it works, and how each of us can use it to have a real, manageable, ongoing dialogue with thousands of listeners.
As a personality, it is your duty to communicate. It is your hope to be remembered. Using social media to delve deeper into topics of interest to your audience -- to go beyond the 20-second break -- has become an essential part of your show prep. The simplest technique you use is to pose a lifestyle question, mine the phones for pithy comments and edit them into a 30-second playback. If you're lucky, you generate several vignettes that can carry the show.
But what of the people who don't get through? Or don't bother to call? Social media affords them the opportunity to not only participate with you, but to engage with other listeners who have the same passion -- your show. Traditionally, we coached talent to think in terms of water-cooler conversations. Well, social media is the new water cooler.
Use your Facebook page and Twitter account to drive participation. (And link the two so you can simulcast your posts). Use this medium as a conversation starter - not as just another outlet to promote appearances and contests. Tune in to your listeners and they will tune in to you.
The other challenge is revenue. Radio is stuck on digital ROI. Alas, social media works in reverse. You build the audience, THEN you find ways to monetize it. No one buys spots on a new format flip. Why should they 'sponsor' tweets or posts before there is a fan base?
Okay, that doesn't answer the GM's question. So, be proactive. Use social media as part of your personal endorsement campaigns. Organically include sponsors in your blog or posts. Share your clients' success through your social media channels. Just remember - social media followers will tune you out if all you do is sell. It is the same behavior they exhibit during long stop sets.
Radio has the unique ability to drive participation in social media. If you build it - they will come ... IF you tell them.
Going forward, smart personalities will make social media a daily part of their entertainment product. They will use this medium as a way of giving their listeners more. However, it requires a strong understanding of the platforms and a healthy investment of your time.
Social media is a relationship tool. It allows your audience the opportunity to know who you are on a deeper level than ever before. Become part of the conversation before your competition does.
Please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on how social media can be the salvation for personality radio to firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Allan works with nonprofits and small businesses on developing and maintaining their social media presence through his company SMthree. Find them at www.smthree.com.