By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — There’s more to being a good jock than listening to yourself talk. There’s more to being a good sales manager than just knowing a lot of clients. And, there’s more to having mad social networking skills than being passionate about posting a ton of stuff!
Alan Peterson asked me a good question. This is the Radio World Alan Peterson in Washington, DC, not the news-talk guy in California. He was getting ready to speak to a college radio conference, and asked me about social media skills. “So what is it that differentiates ‘mad’ skills from ‘casual’ skills, or just plain competency?” He suggested it might involve video shooting and editing, coding, HTML, or actual IT knowledge.
Those are all useful skills, but there’s more to it than that. If you want to be at the top of your social media game, here are the different levels you have to go through.
Level One: Know your Target
It’s called social MEDIA for a reason. Great media brands focus on a target audience, regardless of how fans consume their content. I’m not telling you anything you didn’t probably already know. You may not have thought of it in this context, however.
First, get specific about who your radio station’s target audience is. Got that? Whether you’re posting on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or the many other sites out there, talk to your target. What do you know about them? What’s important to them?
Level Two: How to Talk and Listen with your Target
Here’s something else that you know when it comes to radio, but might not have thought about applying it to social media and your online content.
Your station specializes in a very small number of things. It might be great country music and a funny morning show. It might be stimulating talk shows, and the latest news, traffic and weather. Whether it’s all the hits or classic rock or something else, your listeners have built up an expectation about what they will hear and how they will feel when they turn you on.
When they found you on Twitter or Facebook, they did so with those same expectations in mind. It just makes sense to them that, if you are a country station, your social media will reflect that with country content that is interesting to them!
There’s another piece to this puzzle, too. Where will they interact with you? There’s no pride in being on a lot of different platforms if you’re not doing a great job on any of them. You may know how to create a great Tumblr blog, but … if your target never goes there … who cares?
Level Three: Style
What’s the difference between your personal social media and that of your station? It’s the difference between a ham radio operator and what you do all day long at work.
All that stuff that Alan Peterson asked about, above, is great, but there’s a skill that all great online content providers have to have. It’s knowing how to write well. If you can’t write well, you’ll never get everything you can from this field of opportunity.
In addition to good writing skills, it’s crucial to know how each platform you’re on works. Twitter and Facebook are very different animals when it comes to what gets attention, when you should post, how often you should post, how you write what you post, and what sort of content works best. On social media, you compete with everyone from Starbucks to your fan’s mom. Starbucks has thought about that, even if you haven’t.
Level Four: Your Content
This is where the mad skills really kick in. You’re not active in social media because it’s what all the cool kids are doing. You’re doing it to further strengthen your relationship with your biggest fans. You wouldn’t play “Blurred Lines” on your active rock station. That same sense of boundaries … which you already understand from the broadcast world … applies to your online content, as well.
When you post that funny new baby-with-a-dog video on Facebook, you may get likes and shares and comments. But ask yourself: is that building my brand? Will your biggest fans find reason to feel more loyal to you or listen even more often because of it? Instead, you can find or create content that your biggest fans would expect to get from you, and that they find interesting, touching or fun. Whether it’s a question, a link to an article, a video, or something on your own site, the reaction should be, “Only Radio 109 would do this for me, and it’s good stuff.”
Level Five: Engage!
Online, you know pretty much right away if something is working or not! Social media will only help you hit the numbers you’re measured on if you constantly evaluate what sort of content is working for you by checking your numbers. Facebook, in particular, offers some easy-to-read analytics.
To win at this level, you need to stay flexible, and focused on your target … and what they love about you. Ultimately, this is the foundation of mad social networking skills: the ability to listen, and learn!
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 emailed at email@example.com.