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Be More Social

Your social media presence needs to have a voice. I have been trying to figure out a clever way to begin this column for close to 30 minutes and it just suddenly dawned on me that the smartest thing to do would be to just come out and say it. Your social media presence needs to have a distinct voice and it needs to be a voice that tells listeners and visitors that this is a page you want to be on.

I recently put in an application with a station in a medium-sized market. Before I decided how I wanted to pitch myself I did some homework on the station to try to get an idea of management’s priorities in their presentation. I listened to the imaging. It was fine. It clearly gave the station a local identity and a positioning statement. I went to the website. It was well put together. Some of the blog entries could stand to be updated, but overall, it looked good and did a good job of positioning the station as part of the community.

Finally, I explored the station’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Bingo! I found the O in my SWOT analysis.

Every station uses its social media feeds as promotional tools, but how many stations think about how those tools will be most effective? This station just listed events and guest rundowns for shows and posted links to podcasts.

There isn’t anything that is wrong with that per se. You’re just never going to grow your brand through social media if that is all you’re doing. Honestly, you aren’t really even going to hook your most dedicated listeners that way.

It’s 2018. Every 13 year old boy with an iPhone, a Tide pod and a sense of culinary adventure has figured out how to engage an audience online. Why haven’t radio stations?

You have to give your social media presence a voice. And that voice needs to comment on the world around it. Use that Twitter handle to live tweet major sporting and pop culture events. Create short, exclusive content for your followers on Facebook Live. Give listeners content beyond what they get by listening to the station, and that audience will have a reason to value your online presence.

The goal hasn’t changed. You are still promoting the station’s programming and promotional events. The difference is that my strategy gives your followers a reason to care about what you’re promoting.

It’s fine to use social media to meet your goals, but meeting your goals is easier if your priority is meeting the audience’s needs. Think about it like this. You’ve been invited to two Super Bowl parties this weekend. The first one you learned about because a guy you work with came by your desk and told you about it. Then he kept dropping by twice a day to ask if you are coming. You learned about the other party from a neighbor you see everyday when you pull into your driveway. You exchange pleasantries, he tells you a joke, you discuss the news, and then he mentions “Oh hey, don’t forget about the party on Sunday.”

Who’s party are you going to: the guy who had made it clear that he wants something from you or the guy that has gone out of his way to build a relationship with you? The answer is pretty obvious.

Social media is a powerful tool, but if you aren’t truly being social – exchanging thoughts on pop culture with your followers, responding when they comment, following them back – you’ve diluted that power. Our business is all about making personal connections. As you plan your social media strategy for 2018 ask yourself why advertisers pay more for endorsements than they do for recorded commercials. You’d be more likely to take a second look at the business cards on the cork board at Starbucks if that cork board made an effort to entertain you everyday.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. These are all part of what we do now. Put effort into the messages you present on these platforms. If you’re a PD, would you tell your host they did a good show if all they did in each segment was mention that tonight at Hooters, listeners will get Bud Light for just $3 if they say “Dilly Dilly!” to their waitress and then tease that Adam Schefter will join us live from Minneapolis next? Of course not. So why is it good enough for your online products?

About Demetri Ravanos (24 Articles)
Demetri Ravanos has worked as a Host and Executive Producer for a number of stations including 620 The Buzz, SB Nation Radio, 106.9 The Point, 96 Rock, Radio 96.1 and ESPN Columbia. You can follow him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos.

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