Radio and social mediaFollow @mediaukdiscuss
I am of the age that I can remember that the only interaction between radio station and listener was either by letter, phone, or “road-shows”.
More recently there were listener forums on radio stations’ websites, but those also seemed to go in decline as social media became more popular.
So social media like facebook and twitter have changed things dramatically. Listeners almost expect an immediate reply to their requests or dedications, but how important do radio stations think using social media is? Does it bring in more listeners? Does it, in the long run, increase traffic to the main websites of the stations? Can using social media also indirectly lead to more advertising revenue? Is social media more important than a website?
I look forward to your replies.
I’ve a presentation about this – and there’ll be more at Next Radio next week.
Short answers though, to your points:
- interaction with audiences is proven to increase audience figures
- social media is, in many cases, a replacement for station websites: a space that broadcasters don’t control and don’t monetise
- more listeners listening longer means more advertising revenue
- websites and social media do different jobs
im all for Facebook twitter etc but quality broadcasters dont use facebook alot of its full of shoutcast chatradio getting point of spam ammount posts on there 2nd if not 3rd rate radio 10 listeners sat in chatrooms
Quality broadcasters? You mean like the BBC, RTE, NPR, ABC Australia, NHK and CBC, perhaps? I think you’ll find they’re all on Facebook.
Whats interesting is that one method of interaction hasn’t supplanted others. So forums still thrive in certain niche areas, SMS is, i think, past peak but is still sizeable especially for big events (see Moyles last show), and twitter and facebook interactions are now major, as Ian says, for every broadcaster.
The BBC uses Facebook in many different ways. For Radio 1 and 1xtra it is essential and massive in terms of reach and interactions and as with YouTube for music performances then just as important as the BBC’s own sites at bbc.co.uk.
I talk a fair amount about NOW! Radio in Edmonton, Canada, which uses SMS, Facebook and Twitter to make a really engaging listen – lots of music, lots of speech. It’s a station which has moved from nowhere to #1 in its demographic in just a year.
Crucially – it replies to its audience. Every single one. Sure, it’s in a market small enough to allow it to do that; but the replies (they sent over one million texts in their first year) are a significant part of the way that this radio station succeeds.
I also show, in many of the presentations I do, a letter that a radio station I worked at in the 1990s sent to its listeners – listeners who had written in for a dedication, but the station couldn’t play them. They responded using a letter. To each listener. Possibly related – the station moved from #7 to #1 in the market over four years.
Interacting with your audience has significant benefits.
I see a HUGE future for advertising on Twitter. I am surprised advertisers and radio have not already looked into this.
Sponsoring tweets will these days get more attention from the listener.
On radio stations I have recently been involved with, social media is very important. One station Drivetime show for example ask the listners question early in the day to gain responses throughout the day and help develop the days show.
James – really interesting and I hope to see one of your presentations at some point. You’re so right in saying that ‘social media’ is just another method of communicating. Some members of the audience will Tweet, or text, or get in touch via Facebook instead of phoning, or emailing or turning up at the door asking for a t-shirt. And because all this now happens in public, it gives the radio station a huge opportunity to demonstrate its values. But if their values are poor in the first place, then they won’t get benefits and might get criticism.
Social media is the most important outlet by which to communicate with listeners today, besides from on-air (and even then, a lot of things work better via social media than on the radio).
There’s a lot of stations, especially those that are voluntary in nature such as community stations, that barely utilise Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, when they do, it’s often something wholly disengaging for local people; as an example, one station last year broke a four-month Facebook silence to tell listeners about an Ofcom decision on their licence*.
Beyond Facebook and Twitter, there’s uses for other services too, depending on your target audience and the kind of station that you are. As an exercise, just have a think about how Instagram, Foursquare, Last.fm, YouTube and Soundcloud can be utilised by radio stations – Then see how many stations actually use them. It’s not enough.
(* To be fair to community stations, there is a difficulty with social networking because of the issue of giving all of your volunteers access to post. If one of your volunteers uses Facebook while broadcasting and has atrocious spelling, for example, that is going to reflect negatively on the station’s image. In a commercial project you’re able to have a social media team; in a voluntary project, sometimes there isn’t the resources to have volunteers be able to dedicate their time to that.)
Back to one of the original poster’s questions:
Is social media more important than a website?
Absolutely. You’ve got to ask yourself what people are going to do more: Check their Facebook and/or Twitter feed, or type in and go to your website? Unless they’re a daily online listener, they won’t do the latter everyday. Most young people check Facebook several times per day. When you also consider how often people will check Facebook and Twitter on the go via their mobile phone, it’s almost a no-brainer.
Stations absolutely need to be making sure that listeners are liking the Facebook Page and following the Twitter account. Metro Radio in Newcastle, for example, has 41,000 fans now. That’s 41,000 potential listeners that they can reach regularly (of course not literally, there’ll be inactive accounts and so forth), and that’s 41,000 you’re not reaching if you’re not on Facebook. Facebook is certainly universal enough now to mention it on-air in promotions, and if that’s what it takes to get your audience there, you should do it. It’s that important.
In radio in general i wished that social media, text, phone in or whatever is used more in radio in general. But radio dont tend to use it loads apart from compations and they briefly say hello to some people and that it.
But i guess because radio broadcasters are restricted in the commercial industry to talk that they don’t get a chance to.