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Social Media is “The New PR” for Radio

| December 10, 2012

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS — It may not cost you a dime when your radio station is Tweeting and Facebooking and YouTubing.  However, I’ll bet social media is a major ongoing project for some people at your station.  It’s probably costing you plenty of hours from your programming or promotions department.  Seems to me you’d want return on that investment.

Is there a possible return on investment from your social media efforts?  Maybe not the way you’re doing it right now.  The way to change that is to think of it as “The New PR.”

Getting our content and our brands seen and experienced in other media has always been a good thing.  I used to work with a promotions director who said, “Anytime I get the station on TV, I get an ‘A’ for the day.”  In the old media world, we would gain visibility and credibility with our target demos by appearing in free media, instead of paid advertising.  Often, we needed to hire a PR expert to create and manage our content and media relationships in the right way, because there were gatekeepers at TV and newspapers that we had to get past for our target to see our content.

Today, our fans sign up to get the content they want when they follow us on social media.  This is a very efficient way of getting attention from those most likely to be heavy listeners!  Still, The New PR has a lot in common with great traditional public relations.

The New PR is strategic and measurable

If you were to buy a TV ad schedule for your station, you would think about what you wanted to accomplish, and how you’d measure it.  It’s the same with social media.  Helping my clients, I find that social media interaction goes up the more you focus and narrow your content.  You have numbers you need to hit, whether it’s cume, share, revenue, web hits or email signups.  If your people are going to spend time working on social media, those hours can and should get you closer to your goals.

The New PR uses content to create competition-killing relationships

The smart use of social media leverages the relationship you already have with your fans to build their trust that you will continue to deliver what they love about you.  That builds your credibility in a way that advertising can’t.  It’s also likely to increase their loyalty.  Wouldn’t that help you in a tough competitive situation … or help you avoid one in the future?

The New PR works slowly and incrementally

Much of the folklore around digital media involves sudden, rapid changes, like a YouTube video that attracts millions of views in a short time.  When social media works for you, it’s much more likely to work the way that relationships are built.  Consistent, interesting, brand-related, truthful content over time can deliver meaningful results that a quick fix solution won’t.

I’ll be honest about the hard part of implementing strategic social media at most radio stations.  Everyone’s so busy these days that no one wants to take the time to change.  Lots of managers don’t see the value in social media.  So, most people aren’t motivated to turn unfocused socializing into The New PR.  It’s a lot to overcome.

Meanwhile, I see Facebook pages with fewer than a thousand fans achieving a daily reach of 10K to 15K.  That’s what you can do with focused thinking and good content and technique.  Avoid getting lost in the “social” part of social media, and use it like the forward-thinking, value-oriented media pro that you are.

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

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Category: Digital