Here’s Good News/Talk Brand-Building Social Media

News/Talk radio stations are working to figure out the best use of their digital tools, but their challenges are somewhat different from music stations.  Today, you’ll see some real-life good examples from a station in New York City … and also from a station in a market 1/20th the size of New York:  Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I’m surprised that so few News/Talk social media posts have to do with their talk shows.  You do see plenty of news, traffic and weather information.  Now, we all realize that most successful news/talk stations are jam-packed with syndicated talent that aren’t anywhere near the radio station.  Still, wouldn’t you think that, say, Rush Limbaugh’s people would get out a sample Facebook post or Twitter tweet to the stations that air the show each day?  Seems like a natural to me.

However, kudos to Citadel’s WABC/New York.  Here’s an example of a post about one of the talk shows they carry:

If you go to their Facebook page, you’ll see plenty of posts about the talk shows you hear on WABC.  They’re not generic posts; they’re either teasing what’s coming up on one of the shows they carry, or filling people in on what they heard on a show that already aired (which is a good practical way of recycling to the next day).

As a result, when you look at the WABC Radio Facebook page, you realize it has the same “feel” that listening to the radio station does.

Think about News/Talk stations.  Most of them carry a morning news block, and then run talk shows all day after that, with news, traffic and weather interspersed.  Yet, if you look at their social media, it’s almost all service information (news, traffic, weather).  I was just looking at one station’s Facebook page that had multiple chances to vote for “the hottest fox on FOX News” … but nothing about any of the talk programs they carry.  With the talk talent out of sight and out of mind, the internal station staff is much more concerned about gathering news and setting up promotions than they are integrating content about the talk shows.

I’ve been a fan for a while of the Facebook page belonging to Cox’s KRMG/Tulsa.  They’ve got a lot of it figured out.  They have a busy page, posting a lot, but keeping their posts pretty brief and hype-free.  That way, KRMG can show up on your Facebook page over and over and over without making you feel like you just want to hide them!  That’s a delicate balance that a lot of stations haven’t figured out yet.

They’re also good at choosing what stories to post in social media, and what to say about them.  This is an art form in itself.  Knowing what your target will respond to is a key part of it.  Writing the status update that accompanies your news link is another part of the story.  Here’s a recent example:

In this case, they made use of another new media tool … texting … to let people engage with the brand.  However, plenty of folks went ahead and posted in response on Facebook.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m not a big fan of Twitter.  However, News/Talk stations can, and probably should, use Twitter to send out news bulletins.  I don’t believe that Twitter is a great way to move someone from social media to the web or to your broadcast, but it’s really pretty solid as a bulletin service.  You can get people to sign up for breaking news updates via Twitter, and serve people that way … especially if it’s in tandem with texting and email bulletins that you might offer.

You should definitely put those big breaking news stories on Facebook as well, if you’re a News/Talk station.  I’ve heard it speculated that in the future, Facebook will be as much a mass medium as TV and radio are now.  I have to admit that, for the last few big news stories that have broken, I learned about them from social media.  In addition, I didn’t always then turn on my TV or radio to learn more.  We can either decry the loss of broadcasting as the prime method of instant news reporting … or, we can make sure that our brands are right there where our target audience is, and make sure we’re informing them through email and texting and social media, in whatever combination makes the most sense.

Speaking of such, in a place like Tulsa, you’d want to make sure that you’re up on the weather, with the sort of severe storms that move through that town.  So, if you’re the News/Talk station like KRMG, you’d want to make sure you were communicating important weather information using all tools available to you.  Here are a couple of examples:

These posts were not back to back in real time as you see them here; they’re used as examples.  Not only are they communicating important stuff about severe weather … they’re giving people digital ways to use the brand some more.  In the first post, above, they posted live storm video online at the station website.  In the second, they advised taking cover, and provided a link to listen to the station.  Click … you’re connected to the brand.

In the future, we’ll get into what News/Talk listeners expect to find at their favorite station’s website.  In the meantime, we can talk about how all this affects YOUR radio brand … click my name to the right to start the conversation!

Chris Miller

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