In the past, people would get their news, information, entertainment and find the latest music by tuning in to their favourite stations. Then came social media.
Social platforms have simply become an extension of the essential social aspect of radio stations.
The growth of social media is already having a tremendous impact on business throughout the world and while brands are rocking the social media scene, I have yet to see a radio station in South Africa truly understand what to do with their social audience.
What’s missing? From my experience with the different radio and non-radio brands I have worked with, it comes down to understanding the power and value of these platforms.
Here’s my list of things to do in 2019 to increase engagement, build brand loyalty and stand out from your competitors.
- Post often:
On Facebook, the average user has 338 friends. During the key hours of the day radio stations should be posting at least once per hour on Facebook and Twitter. On Instagram, two to three times per day and at least one Instagram story. Use GIFs to enhance your images, grab attention, and direct your fans’ attention to a call-to-action. Facebook also gives the best referral traffic so if you want to increase your website audience numbers then increase your Facebooks posts with links to the website. Using a social posting calendar helps you plan across programming, marketing, news and promotions.
Use each post as a learning opportunity to gain important insights about your audience: How many people were reached? Who shared? Who liked? Who commented? What time of day was it posted? What was the content? Monitor this on a daily basis with weekly reports for internal discussions compiling all of your station’s data and get a better understanding of what content your audience likes.
- Understand the power women hold online
Women are the majority of users of social networking sites, spending 30% more time on social media platforms than men. Also, 85% of all brand purchases are made by women. In fact, the only network that women are not the dominant user is LinkedIn. As stations are connecting with their listeners in the digital space, it is possible for advertisers to take advantage of this relationship.
Did video kill the radio star? In this case, video makes the radio star better. Reaching two billion daily active users in June 2017, Facebook has emerged as the most popular social media platform globally. From live streaming interviews, outside broadcasts and even those off-air moment, the focus should be on creating daily video moments for your audience to engage and share. Facebook rewards live video feeds with lots of reach to your audience.
If you’re actively producing video content you are already well ahead of your competitors. Do keep your videos relevant, interesting and as short as possible.
- User-generated content
Think of your fans as an extension of your content team. The majority of people who listen to your radio station have microphones, cameras and video recording capability built into their smartphones.
Managing the social media accounts of Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio I get to see daily posts from people talking about things happening in their lives, thanking people for help or looking for something. There are endless opportunities to turn these posts into on-air and online content. Apart from sourcing content, a radio station can turn a radio competition or campaign into a viral one by curating videos, photos and stories on social media. For example, the “Elf Yourself” videos by Jib Jab that come back every year around Christmas.
When done correctly, UGC combined with brand content can create an authentic customer journey that your social followers can relate to and find value in.
Don’t forget WhatsApp. Imagine the online galleries you could create by soliciting the pictures and videos that your listeners are creating at concerts, festivals, markets and newsworthy events. Even those voice notes make perfect podcasts.
- Close the advertising gap
Your marketing creative shouldn’t be contained to a single platform. Instead, incorporate it across both your radio advertising and your social media presence. For starters, don’t be afraid to promote your radio ads directly on social media. Make the audio available on your Facebook page, turn your advert into a 15-second video and post it on Instagram. Include a call to action to get your fan engaging with the advert.
By using social media marketing to enhance the radio experience, you can visually bring your advert to life. Instagram Stories ads, for example, have been around since 2017 and in 2018 Instagram gave brands the ability to use three consecutive photos or videos. Facebook Messenger ads now allow brands to connect with customers directly via instant messaging.
- Augmented reality
AR experiences often take place outside of the traditional live broadcasting environment and allow for “real world” interaction. Facebook and Instagram are very much encouraging people to not only use their AR features as much as possible but even to create their own AR experiences by giving the tools they need to build AR camera lenses and effects.
AR videos can help show people what the user experience would be like if they bought the service. Think of the value for clients. A great AR experience is highly shareable. Meaning, if you create amazing AR experiences for your audience (such as games and other interactive AR experiences), people will want to share the results with their audience.
- Take your radio competitions to social media
Social media, in particular, is a perfect platform to engage people with contests and promotions. Especially if you’re looking to generate new leads and re-engage loyal customers. Photo contests on Facebook and Instagram are extremely popular among small businesses, especially with larger prizes like “A weekend getaway” or “R10 000 shopping spree.”
While it is important for the on-air personalities (presenters, news and sports anchors and even the on-air producers) to build their own personal social media brands, make sure that when they are on-air for their shift they should be concentrating on the station’s social media channels to build authenticity with the listeners. Your listeners want to hear from your station’s personalities. Pretend your brand is actually a person, and engage with your audience accordingly.
Combining radio and its perfect storm of local content, music and personalities and social media’s ability to have one-on-one interactions and the power to humanise a brand, is a match made in heaven.
Charis Coleman is the head of digital content at Kagiso Media. She has worked with small and large local organisations as well as large multinational organisations, while managing specialist content teams.