What Social Sites Are Good For What?

Facebook really is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to social media.  At the same time, there are other sites worth consideration.  In spite of that, you may want to consider only Facebook for your social media, and call it good.

There are a couple of good reasons for doing so.  First of all, it really has become the brand that defines the product category.  If suddenly StumbleUpon and LinkedIn went away, social media would not be changed all that much for most folks.  But if Facebook suddenly disappeared?  Holy smokes, we might have to start talking face-to-face with our co-workers again!

A second reason is … if you are working in the radio industry right now … you are very likely doing the job of two or three people.  You just don’t have time to dabble in lots of different social media sites.  If you’re going to do a good job of coordinating your brand’s Facebook page with your on-air and on-site and other online activities, messing around with other social sites can be a huge focus-buster.

Still, there are tactical reasons for being involved with other sites.

I think Twitter makes a great bulletin service.  If you want people to know something … but don’t care if they act on it (for instance, click a link to go to your website) … Twitter is good for that.  Also, it’s just plain easier to get followed on Twitter than on other social media sites.  People will get picky about whether they want to associate with you on Facebook or LinkedIn.  However, if you seem to have something interesting going on, all sorts of strangers will check out what you’re tweeting.  That’s especially valuable if you traffic in some sort of information.  Say, you’re a news/talk or a sports talk station.  You might strive to become the leader in your market for bulletins you’d send out.

If you’re a news/talk station, you can offer bulletins about news, traffic and weather.  If you’re a sports talk station, you can offer bulletins for different pro and college teams in your town … and separate them up by the organization.  Here in Cleveland, I might sign up for news about the Indians and what Ohio State is doing, but not care about the Browns or the Cavs.

Flickr and YouTube are good places to share photos and videos, respectively.  Photos just look so great on Flickr compared to Facebook, and it’s easy to link from one to the other.  There’s a charge if you want to display more than 200 photos at a time on Flickr, unless you start setting up multiple accounts.  You would probably never, ever tell people on the air to go check you out on Flickr, but it’s really a quality place to store your photos, and there are some limited social functions there, as well.

YouTube is just locked in as the site that everyone expects to find videos.  Plus, it’s easy to upload and store your station videos there, too.  And, as with Flickr, it’s super-easy to link back and forth from Facebook or your website to YouTube when you want to post a video for people to see.  You may also find your fans … when they land on your YouTube page … checking out other videos you’ve loaded, because that site is very usable and easy to understand.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about, but have not explored yet.  LinkedIn has become a prime at-work networking site.  Many radio brands thrive on at-work listening.  What could you do to build a LinkedIn network for your radio brand?  I’m thinking this would especially apply to Adult Contemporary stations.  Classic Hits, older-skewing Rock formats and Variety Hits stations could also build networks of listeners on LinkedIn.  No other stations seem to be doing it yet, and you could really get the perceptual high ground by building a fun, supportive, listener-focused network of fans there … with no competition from other radio stations.  Yet.

I’ll leave you with an action point:  Make sure that what you’re doing is worth your effort.  Facebook is a great place to talk to people who “Like” you … i.e., people who are some of your big fans.  Twitter’s great for bulletins and information you want to just flash at people.  YouTube, Flickr … store visuals there.  LinkedIn … potential for at-work bonding?  Don’t overthink this; stay focused on your goals.

I was talking with someone once who said, “We’ve identified the 16 or so leading social media sites, and we’re working to have a presence on all of them.”  If you find yourself thinking this way, stop!  Quit driving yourself crazy.  In the same way that you can never run a TV schedule that reaches everyone, you can’t reach your goals if you’re trying to be on every social media site.  Work on brand-building activities, and work on engaging with your fans … using what they already love about you.

Stay focused and don’t spread yourself too thin.  Then, get home at the end of the day in time to enjoy being with your friends and family!

Chris Miller

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