Questions … Which Ones Work?

Here’s a good way to engage your fans:  ask a good question.  When you ask the right question, people’s brains get engaged, and they start thinking about you and what you asked them.

That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions:

Make sure it fits your brand.  Content-heavy morning shows and news/talk stations have more “stuff” to ask questions about, but even music-intensive stations can find things to ask the audience about.

Make sure it passes the “Who Cares” test.  Is what you’re asking something that’s going to really get people thinking?  It doesn’t have to be controversial or outrageous.  It just has to be something that touches people’s lives or interests.

Once you have a good question, here are a couple of other tips to make it work for you:

Get people to your website.  Don’t just ask for responses on Facebook … also, give people the option of going to your website to give you feedback there.  You can give them room to write an answer, or just choose an option on a web poll.

Give them something to read or watch.  A short message or video related to your question will help response rates.

Don’t think of this as real research.  If you ask something about your brand, don’t use it to make decisions.  What you probably have on your hands is a badly-chosen focus group.  See it as a chance to bond with your fans … it’s an emotional thing you want them to feel.  It’s not about the information they give you.

Here are a couple of good examples … one from a talk-based radio brand, one from a music-based one.

Proving you don’t have to be controversial or outrageous, Radio One’s Hot 102.7 in Detroit asked listeners about a new song.  If you’re a music-intensive station, there’s no reason why you can’t post new videos by core artists all the time, whether you’re playing them on the radio yet or not.  If you’re a classic-based station, you could post performances by your core artists, singing well-known songs.  This would fit your brand a lot better than some of the “lifestyle” content you’re stretching for.  Note that they didn’t just ask the question on Facebook.  They also didn’t link to YouTube.com for the video.  They linked the video to a page at their website, and sent people there … so they got credit for the web hits.

If you’re a news/talk station, you can post stuff relating to the news of the day and tie it in with what you’re doing on the air (or online) about that subject.  Clear Channel’s 1190 KEX in Portland, OR, turned the results of a news story into a very emotional poll.  Here, too, they steered people to their website to give a reaction … thus getting the web hits instead of wasting them or sending them to some other site.

There’s lots of stuff you can do to drive your biggest fans to engage with you on the basis of your brand-based content.  Click my name to the right to start a conversation about your particular situation.

Chris Miller

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