I’ve started to wonder if twitter is inherently negative. Don’t get me wrong, I love twitter. But, recently I’ve noticed an avalanche of stories involving radio and twitter’s dark side; threats, trolls, listener backlash, industry bullying, and firings over tweets. We talk about it extensively on this week’s radio stuff podcast.
Is it Twitter’s fault?
“You really can’t say it is all twitters fault,” says Lori Lewis, Jacobs Media’s Digital and Social Media Strategist, on the Radio Stuff podcast. “All of these folks are not using Twitter constructively, nor are they using it strategically. So when they shoot off at the mouth, they say in appropriate things, if it just backfires on them or nobody is interacting with them, it’s absolutely not Twitter. It’s every individual’s use of the platform.”
Oh. Okay, so why do this? Why put yourself out there? Why participate in social? And if you choose to do it how do you do it right?
WHY BE SOCIAL? IT’S A RATINGS THING.
“I can’t tell you how many talent I get to work for and their ratings correlate their social use. It’s amazing and could be coincidence, but there is a major market radio station, they have one talent that is a social brand – the midday personality – he outshines the entire radio station weekly after weekly after weekly — he’s always number one. Now, he’s the new person on the radio station. Everybody else is legendary. Everybody’s been there for decades and they don’t participate in any of the social tools and while their ratings are good, isn’t it ironic that the social brand really outshines them?”
AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA AT YOUR OWN PERIL
“You’re just making room for your competitor. You don’t have to Twitter. People don’t have to embrace social, but all you’re doing is making it harder for yourself and making it harder for your future. This is where the puck is going and if you think it’s cute to say you don’t know those apps, you don’t use those platforms – that’s your prerogative, but there’s someone younger and faster ready to take your place.”
USE COMMON SENSE
“It takes skill to humanize a brand and come off naturally. You really should watch your grammar. There is nothing attractive about using the letter ‘u’ for you. We don’t have to look like 12-year-old girls when we are tweeting. I think you have to remember at the end of the day that social is as public as face-to-face and it’s almost louder than it is face-to-face. Because, when your tweet shows up in my live feed and you are cussing or you have bad spelling or grammar or it’s just not funny – it’s just substandard – it’s almost more offensive.”
STUDY THE PLATFORM
“Twitter is the most simple platform of all the social tools out there. Yet, you really have to study it. You really have to listen. Listen to the founders of Twitter, listen to the CEO Dick Costello, and listen to all the VPs of brand development. How are they expecting users to use the platform? And then when you have studied it enough and you have watched people who are really winning on Twitter, you start understanding the strength and you start using twitter appropriately.”
BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT YOU TWEET
“So many people think the social space is an unrestrictive playground and they can say and do whatever they like. And you know what? You can, but so can your bosses. And if you are the voice of a radio station, if you are the face of a brand, — it doesn’t matter if you are on the air or not on the air – it doesn’t matter who you are, if you have any affiliation with a brand and you say something that is questionable, that gets a rise from a lot of people, your boss also has the right to do and say whatever they wish too. And people really need to get over themselves.
TAKE CONTROL FROM THE TROLLS
“One of my favorite things is just to block people. But there’s no golden rule out there. I see this happen more on Facebook, because the comments lay there more publicly than looking at tweets. There’s no rule that you have to let those comments sit there for everyone to read. Delete that stuff. If it’s inappropriate, if it’s vulgar, if it just doesn’t fit, if it’s weird…there’s no rule that it has to stay. Trolls will bait you and they will get you to say things you would never ever say in public.”
Social Media can be exciting or scary. It can be seen as an opportunity or burden. Admittedly, some broadcast companies are embracing it with open arms, building communities and making money. Others resist it as a personal affront reminiscent of the Mom Gifford rant of 1979 in objection to the microwave oven. She’s since gotten over it, but many radio companies are still fighting the need for social media.
Enter Nate Riggs.
“Don’t try to do everything all at once. Pick one thing that you’re going to do 110% and get really good at. If it’s a Facebook page invest your time and energy in building a community around that Facebook page and engaging in that community. I think it’s a perfect complement to radio, because radio is traditionally a push medium; we listen to radio.”
Nate is a business communications specialist, a marketer and social media content engineer based in Columbus, OH. In a podcast interview with Larry Gifford Media, he says that the most important thing a radio station can do is to assign a real live body to their social media efforts.
“General rule of thumb: don’t get too hung-up on the shiny bells and whistles and the technology it’s more about really coming up with the content and putting humans on-air or on-line that are going to make that content work with the audience. If you think about it, that’s not too far off from what successful radio shows already do.”
Nate recently wrote a blog piece offering free advice to the Morning Zoo at WNCI-FM in Columbus. He tells LGM that there a ton of opportunities for radio stations in the social media space.
“Most radio stations will have remotes or go out and have events at night clubs, restaurant, or concerts and I think there’s a huge opportunity to even have things like location-based check-ins with services like foursquare or even Facebook places especially for contesting.”
In keeping in line with that personal connection to the fan, Nate suggests each personality have his or her own account instead of the radio station in general or a show. People want to interact with people not things. It also allows you to really focus your messaging to the people who want to receive it from that show or personality.
The big question is how do you convince your web master that it’s okay to be promoting Facebook pages and twitter accounts over pushing fans through the station website? Nate thinks it might time to change that paradigm.
“Is it more about engaging the audience and really keeping them and having them as part of the conversation or is about spiking website traffic? The ads that are on the radio station website aren’t really getting seen by that many people. There is some click-through and there are some impressions being delivered, but internet ads on those particular websites have become very much like TV; a big portion of the audience glazes over and doesn’t even see them. “
So, as you and your station begins to tackle the social media landscape, what’s most important? Here are Nate’s Top Three Things…
1. Go get the education. Go to the conferences like Social Fresh, south by southwest, blog world and dozens of other events bringing these experts to the table. It will help you get your head around how to use it.
2. Use it as a personal user. How can you ever take a technology and apply it to your business if you haven’t taken the time to understand it for yourself? Go out and connect with old classmates on Facebook or get on twitter and start to follow people, start a blog, and do something that will allow you to have the experience in this space to start to get your head around how to apply it to your business
3. Leverage radio. Radio is a passive medium; we use it when we drive, when we are doing other things, when we are sitting at the computer. There is a huge advantage there. You might have someone sitting at a computer and if you can drop a message on the air they have an opportunity right then and there to take an action and get on line. Don’t ignore that opportunity. That’s going to a big thing that is going to help radio convert listeners to the online space.
Looking ahead Nate says to keep your eyes open for the rise of group texting sites like “groupme”
Nate Riggs is a business communications specialist, a marketer and social media content engineer based in Columbus, OH. He started Nate Riggs Social Business Strategies at www.nateriggs.com and @nateriggs on twitter.
Listen to the podcast here: Nate Riggs – Social Media Podcast
“Give people permission to fail.” – Seth Godin. If people fear failure they won’t take risks, try anything new, and they won’t raise their hand and volunteer, because there is no upside. As a manager, encourage creativity, challenge conventional wisdom and celebrate failures as part of the process of trying.
Don’t ignore your twitter followers and facebook friends. A reply from a radio show or host may make their day. – Nate Riggs
Sure, the headline is extreme, but that seemed to be the core message at TMC/TSBC from just about anybody who knows anything about new and social media. In addition to the warning shots, some offered actionable advice.
Growing Your Social Network
Derrick Ashong of Oprah Radio wowed those in attendance as a talk talent for the next generation. He invites some of his loyal listeners, who have lots of friends on twitter and facebook, to sit in the studio during each show and chat about what they see and hear. This gets the message of Derrick.s show to new and different fans from those who are already listeners or following his show’s twitter, facebook, ustream, and skype feeds. It gives the listeners some ownership of the show. As different topics bubble up on the social media sites, it gives Derrick new and different angles to address on-air while promoting the different twitter or facebook conversations.
Check out The Derrick Ashong Experience. Derrick is the voice of a new generation, a voice for all people. See the video here.
Another Actionable Idea
Is Anyone Making Money?
Bill Figenshu, President and CEO of FigMedia1, told attendees to lower expectations of how much money you.re going to make, “Making money on the internet is like teenage sex – everybody is talking about it, not everybody is doing it.”
McVay Media suggests you project new media revenue as 3-5% of total station revenue in the first year and 5-8% in the second year. Click here: McVay Media offers 10 ways to make money with digital Media
Weclome to the blog. Larry Gifford is a radio management consultant and talent coach. He is available for ongoing or project based consulting for U.S. and International radio groups, stations, and talent
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