Before you get worried, I’m not talking about what goes on behind your bedroom doors. I’m referring to the Twitter and Google+ social media model. Unlike Facebook profiles, the relationship of Twitter followers and Google+ circles doesn’t have to be a reciprocal one.
People can follow (or circle) others they find interesting, and those people can choose to return the favor… or not. So should you reciprocate? If you’re a media personality or a social media manager for radio, then yes.
Radio personalities and station accounts should use social media to engage with listeners in conversation. When you follow a listener back, you’re telling them that you care about what they have to say. And if you don’t care? You’re missing out.
Advantages to a #FollowBack Strategy
1. It’s not just about you. Social media is about being social, which involves two-way communication. If your idea of social media is to throw out some links to your website, you’re missing the point in what social media has to offer radio- an opportunity to get to know your audience. Giving listeners more information about you is only one half of the equation.
2. You can use social media for show prep. When you follow your listeners, you can see what they’re talking about. You may see a trend in listeners’ tweets, or you may see one interesting tweet that sparks an idea for on-air content.
If you use Twitter (or other social media) for on-air content, mention the names of the listeners who participated in the online conversation. People love to hear their names on-air. This exposure will increase your online engagement and likely get you more followers, as well.
Because sharing links and information is such a big part of Twitter, it isn’t a bad idea to “listen up”. Stay ahead by identifying viral topics before they reach their peak.
3. You’ll learn a lot about your listeners by following them on Twitter. Want to know what topics your listeners care about, or what music they’re into? Follow them and read their tweets for a peek into the lives of your demo.
4. You can create deeper relationships with listeners by joining their conversations. You don’t always have to be the conversation starter. Treat your online experience like a cocktail party and mingle. Chime in when you have something to say.
5. You’ll get more followers when listeners see you #followback. P1s get so excited to see their favorite station following them that they often tweet about it, creating added exposure for your Twitter account.
6. You’ll be able to send them a direct message (DM). Twitter’s private messaging system only allows you to message people you follow. If a listener has an issue that requires a private conversation, you may prefer to take the conversation from public to private using DMs.
With that being said, there are a few cases in which you wouldn’t follow back. If the follower has no profile pic or bio, tweets that appear to be spam, or tweets that are sexual or illegal in nature, skip them. You wouldn’t want your staff to be exposed to content that isn’t consistent with your company standards.
While we’re talking about it, follow @StephanieWinans. I follow back.
-written for Radio Ink