So all this talk about social media being new is, well, not so new. Not to radio. The challenge for broadcasters is that today’s engagement is no longer confined to the airwaves. Most listeners are to be found on social networks, it is imperative that radio stations engage with their listeners on on a range of social media platforms and bridge the ‘digital divide’.
1. If you went to a networking event, you would quickly see the difference between someone who was really engaged, interested in others, able to connect and share interesting stories, or be helpful to other attendees, and someone who was just passing out business cards and talking about themselves. Your listeners can tell the difference in social media, too. Social media done right requires that you “put yourself out there” and that you try to be interested in others. This is just like being at a party where those who really get into the spirit become more connected, popular and of interest to everyone. It isn’t about promotion but about subtly creating influence.
2. So you’re at a party. If you stood in the corner, not many people would know a lot about you. The party would come and go and everyone would leave. What would the benefit be for you or for them in your being at the party? None. Instead, what if you were entertaining? If you lifted every conversation, showing pictures from your smart phone, telling a few funny stories, listening to others and helped others “come out of themselves” by being genuinely interested in the story of what is happening in their life right now? Well, you would be a hit. Memorable. Connective. In exactly the same way, you should think about social media as a place for brief stories that are sometimes told with entertaining pictures or video. Bringing the “fun” of radio into social media environments can be engaging for listeners; listening to them and validating them can help them warm to you in social media and follow you back to your platform – radio. That should be a goal of your social media.
3. When you drop into a party, you may notice that some people have a more service-oriented heart. That means that they are the ones who ask if you would like a drink. Perhaps they greet you and start the conversation and you notice they do this a lot. In social media, that could be you. In other words, you can be the person who offers assistance and you can engage people by being helpful to them. Start the conversation. Bring some fun into someone’s life. In our disconnected society of reality TV, longer work hours, more stress, and often living in neighbourhoods where we don’t know the guy three houses down from us, social media is a way people reach out and try to feel connected, important, engaged. If you know this and work to help validate local listeners by focusing on helping them, you will be the hit at this party. Every time.
Social media does not have to be complicated. It is about connecting with people by showing them who you are and making it clear that you are there for them if they need it, you help others and you open yourself up so you can be seen as a real person. People react fastest to authenticity. Don’t kid yourself. Listeners can feel it when you are being real. This is especially true in an environment like social media when so many businesses (and individuals) can sometimes try to fake it to manipulate you. Be real, be helpful, be entertaining, and bring some fun to the party and see if you are not the hit on the social media platform of your choice. More than this, you will be able to engage and bring these listeners back to your radio station to continue the party!