By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — Being consistent is good. That applies both on the air, and in your social media, too. Your fans build up expectations of what you’re going to post. If they choose to engage with you about what you post, that’s great. Nice work.
There’s a dark side to consistency, however. When you get into a rut, or your favorite ways to interact aren’t getting interacted with, it’s time to take control by losing a little control.
You never want to just change everything at once about what your station is doing in social media. However, I’d recommend taking about 10% of your posts, and just try different ideas. Do this whether you’re wildly successful, or not happy with your fans’ level of engagement. If you’re always curating content, linking to sources online, try posting a great photo, or just asking an open-ended question.
Here’s an example. There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three “Likes” on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.
Here’s what these AC stations are doing on Facebook. They’re linking to online content that generally pertains to their listeners’ expectations. They’re also promoting what we’re doing on the air or on-site. That’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with that. Links can be interesting, but you can make it more engaging by asking a question to get people talking. Promoting what you’re doing is smart, if you’re treating it as content rather than marketing.
But let’s say you’re taking 10% of your posts just to see what your fans will react to. If you’re an AC station, with a target full of working moms, you could ask questions like, “What song is running through your head right now?” You could also ask, “Is there music that your kids listen to over and over and over?” You’d probably get responses to “What song helps pump you up when you have a lot to get done?” If you have a personality morning show, in the middle of the afternoon, you can harken back to something they said on the air and ask for feedback.
Facebook users gravitate to photos, and you can create galleries of compelling photographs of events you hold or concerts by your artists. You, the station, can post these … or you can start with one or two of your own, and ask for listener photos, as well.
You can even work outside the lines, and post something like, “Wow, we got busy today. If you could fill in for us, what would you post here?” If you have a personality with a bit of an attitude or a level of feistiness, you could ask what people think life is like for their spouse. If you promote benefits like “relaxing” or “refreshing,” you could ask, “What do you do to relax besides turning on [station name]?”
Then, there’s one more step. Check your stats. See what gets responded to. Facebook has a way to see how many people reacted to each and every one of your posts, including friends of your followers. Take that information to heart, and when you see something you tried pay off, do more of that. A post that gets a response is like a hit song or a hot talk topic. You can bring it back again and again, and your fans will continue to react positively to it.
What you choose to try needs to have some connection to your station, even if it’s a tenuous one. I’m suggesting you think of all the different ways you might speak as your brand to your fans. That doesn’t mean doing just anything. Finally, when you find there are things you do that don’t get responded to … it’s time to do less of those things!
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.