Radio Social News Roundup 3/17/11

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s a quick rundown on some interesting stuff I found online about social media.

So what social media sites are good for what purposes?

Here’s a well-done grid from CMO.com, a site with a bunch of good info regarding how marketers can use digital tools.  They rate social sites in four practical areas (customer communication, brand exposure, traffic to your site, and search engine optimization (SEO).  Now, most radio folks are not that concerned with SEO, but they are … or should be … with the other three.

Even above and beyond what each social media site is best at, I’d recommend settling on Facebook to be the prime site for your social media efforts.  Sure, throw Twitter on there, too, if you feel strongly about it.  But most of the others have specific uses; Flickr is great for storing lots of photos, while YouTube is where you want to keep your station videos.  And there’s some real question about the financial future of sites like Digg and Foursquare.  Still, it’s an interesting, thought-provoking grid showing what the strengths and weaknesses of some of the bigger social sites available now.

Still … we all know that almost every radio station in American has fewer people trying to do more.  So, let me be clear that I think you ought to stick to Facebook … and maybe Twitter … for your prime social brand communication.  I’m hesitant about Twitter, because my experience is that it just doesn’t move as high a percentage of people to your website, which is something radio stations need to be concerned about.

Should you give up your website and focus only on Facebook? That was a recommendation recently from one consultant, and it’s got radio managers, programmers and promoters pondering that subject.  This recent “connected” column on Radio-Info by Daniel Astandig of Listener-Driven Radio was a smart answer to that question.  I know what he’s saying about managers feeling that they don’t have the digital resources they need.

I have to disagree with them, however.  Fans of our brands are not looking for entire new streams of content or cutting-edge technology.  They’re looking for more engagement and more access to the stuff they already like about us.  If stations focused on what we call the Boring Beneficial Basics, they’d see more web hits and more page views per visit.  These basics are things like promoting your stream, your list of songs you played, your targeted event guide and your morning show blog listing what got talked about on the air.  The problem is not that we can’t do new web initiatives, the problem is that we’re not meeting listener expectations about what they want to find on our websites.  Those expectations are still driven mostly by what happens on our air.  Someday that may change, but it’s the way it is now.  Deliver on the basics and offer deep, focused information on what you do on the radio, and you’ll have a website people will want to visit frequently.

Look at TV news stations.  Many of them get big hits just from repackaging their news to go online.  They’re not going deep into new forms of content; they’re timely and reliable and hitting the mark on the short list of things their brand fans expect of them.

Finally, check out this short piece about engagement. Note how very different the values and qualities of engagement are, compared to how we in the radio industry usually think about pushing information and content AT our fans.  Could you think this way in the web world every day?

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