Dipping Your Toe Into Engagement

When I was a radio guy, I almost never said the word “engage” seriously when it came to listeners.  We radio people pump out the content, and let it wash over our listeners.

As an internet entrepreneur for the last year, I realize that engagement is the way of the future.  The trick is not only to find the stuff that people want to see and hear and know and feel … but to create a place where formerly passive listeners come to talk back with us!

Social media has helped drive the new world of engagement.  People are now hungry for it, and the generation of millenials … those folks in their teens, 20s and early 30s … expect media that is on-demand and two-way.  It’s tough to alter the physical process of transmitter-to-receiver radio to change the engagement dynamic.  So it’s up to us to use our websites and social media to help create more communication and better communication with our fans.

As an industry, we in radio are woefully unprepared for that task, too!  So, here are a few thoughts about how to get started.

1.  Commit to the time, and to the attitude that you don’t know yet what you need to know … but you will.

Man, I know you’re busy.  Everyone in the industry is doing multiple jobs with fewer resources.  This is not urgent … but it’s important.  Bring this up with other programmers and promoters.  Talk about this in your promotion meetings.  Get people thinking about possibilities and goals.

2.  Sincerely and transparently work to give your fans what you believe they want (not what you want them to know about you).

Remember that there are things that draw people to your radio brand, and things that they put up with if you’re good enough.  Review your social media posts … how much of it really has to do with what people love about your brand?  The benefit of social media is that your biggest fans will engage with you, giving you more listening and more web hits.  But you have to keep it focused on what they think makes you special … not what you think is interesting, or what your advertisers want them to know.

3.  You don’t control the outcome.

Sometimes, social media causes a response that doesn’t fit with what you think it should.  Let it go.  Unless it’s rude or illegal, let some conversation flourish.

4.  Set some goals.  Staff it the best you can.  Applaud creativity.

You know what your goals are.  Hit a 5-share?  Rank in the top 3?  Increase your number of unique website viewers?  Up the average number of pages viewed per visit?  Get the smart people on your team together to brainstorm, “In what ways might we (reach our goal) using social media?”

Don’t hand it off to the lowest person on the totem pole, either.  Maybe the PD and the promotion manager should do the social media for a week together before delegating it to someone who can write in quick, compelling sentences.

Sales pitch:  I’m happy to listen to you and talk with you about your particular situation.  For free.  Ongoing strategic and tactical help is reasonably priced, but conversations are interesting and not on the clock.  Join the Facebook page or go here for my contact info.

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