I spoke at the Ontario Broadcasters Association Fall Conference and one of the questions for our panel was “Where does social media fit against where your website sits?”
This question comes up often, as managers and talent alike try to prioritize and determine the relationship between the station website and social media.
So, what is the answer? In the short term, the answer depends on your goals. If your goal is to beat your competitor in Facebook likes, then social media may be your current priority.
In the long term, your goal should be to use social media to support the station website, and to create website content that can be shared on social platforms- by you and by your fans.
You’ve likely heard the statement “fish where the fish are” in support of making social media a priority. This phrase is powerful- it is a visual reminder of the marketing power of social platforms like Facebook, which boasts over 800 billion users.
And the phrase makes a strong argument. We cannot afford to ignore any touch point where we can reach listeners, market to them, and build relationships with them.
Don’t Put Your Eggs In A Basket You Don’t Own
While the engagement we see on mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (and even SoundCloud, Instagram and Pinterest!) may encourage us to make social media our first priority, it’s important to remember that we can’t control these social networks.
We’re just one irritating change, privacy mishap, or trend away from a shift in social media. Popularity can change at any time- just ask MySpace. Because we don’t own (and don’t we wish we did!) Facebook or Twitter, it is smart to use social media to support the products we do own.
What I mean by “support” breaks down into two arguments:
1. The Content Marketing Argument
Where do you find the content to post on your social media platforms? If you have strong website content that is frequently updated, the first answer is the station website.
Without a robust content strategy, it is difficult for social media managers (or Promotions Directors, or whoever runs your social media presence) to find quality content that supports both the station brand, and the social media strategy in place.
For example, having frequently updated jock blogs and show podcasts, music news and videos, gives you a stable cornerstone in which to build your social media strategy. If your website is static, you are forced to seek out relevant content 100% of the time.
Social media management is easier when you’re website is something worthy of sharing.
2. The Digital ROI Argument
Using social media to drive listeners back to the website should be your second goal. (What’s the first? Using social media to drive ratings by nurturing listener-station relationships and sharing content that promotes the on-air product.)
Why do we care about driving listeners to the station website? Because we like our jobs and our stations are supported by advertisers, many of which are shifting to an interest in digital ads, interactive online promotions, or website feature sponsorships.
Racking up likes and comments on Facebook serves whom? Facebook (unless a client of the station sponsors that post). Using a Facebook post to drive traffic to the website serves both the station and its advertisers.
When listeners click a link you post, they (you!) are increasing traffic to the station website. Whether the specific page you linked to is sponsored or not, the overall traffic statistics are the numbers our Account Executives use to sell digital.
Because I believe driving website traffic is a goal for social media presence (and not the other way around), and because we should never put too much focus on a product we don’t own, I believe social media is secondary to the station website. What are your thoughts? Share by adding a comment below.