By Chris Miller
SHAKER HEIGHTS — “My station has five thousand Facebook ‘likes!’”
“We’re working on a video that we think will go viral!”
I’ll try and be gentle; both of these topics are shiny, distracting objects. Unfortunately, the number of Facebook “likes” you have is almost completely without meaning. In addition … working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!
OK, it is better to have a larger number of Facebook “likes” than a smaller one, but not because that number is an end in itself. It’s what you do with those fans that counts. Here’s why:
- Are they hardcore fans or people across the country that entered a contest? You don’t know.
- Most of your fans will never see any given post of yours on Facebook.
- Just accumulating a large number of followers doesn’t help you grow your brand.
People who “like” your station on Facebook aren’t friends. More than likely, they’re looking for insider info, special deals and offers, and extra access to YOU. That’s a good thing! When you have a lot of heavy listeners follow you on Facebook, you can use that channel as a special way to whisper good stuff to them.
Furthermore, when you create content that gets your fans liking, sharing and commenting, Facebook shows that content to more people! That means more of your fans will see those posts. It also means that Facebook shows that stuff to your fans’ friends, too.
So, you can have 5,000 Facebook “likes” and get very little from them. Or you can have the same number of fans, and turn it into tens of millions of annual impressions. It’s up to you, and what you do.
One other thing? Never, ever, ever consider buying followers for Facebook or Twitter.
Having some digital content go viral is a thrilling experience! First thousands, and then tens and hundreds of thousands share something of yours. Maybe you even get a million or more hits on something!
It’s great if it happens. It’s not a goal to have, however.
Most branding work in digital media is a bit of a slog. It means building relationships, sharing a consistent stream of pretty specific content, and working that relationship over and over. For radio, it can lead to greater loyalty, more and longer listening occasions, and your fans sharing your content with their friends.
Meanwhile, having something go viral is like lucking into a free commercial in the Super Bowl. All of a sudden, everyone sees what you did! However, you know what happens in the long run if a client runs just one commercial, even in your strongest daypart. Nothing.
It’s the same thing with content that goes viral. As an unexpected happening, it’s truly incredible. As a marketing plan, it stinks.
It’s better to be committed to working your digital strategy every day. Give your biggest fans the extra access to your station that they crave. Do it over and over and over again. Learn what content you can offer that causes your fans to engage with you. Then focus on that stuff.
BY THE WAY
It seems I’ll be running a workshop in April at the Maine Association of Broadcasters meeting. We’ll be going through some specific ways you can use your digital tools to complement your broadcast. If you’re a State-of-Maine-er, I look forward to seeing you there.
Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org