The request lines don’t ring very often anymore. So, how can we make radio interactive without callers? Luckily, social media and texting became popular about the time calling in to a radio show became unpopular.
We have the opportunity to make our one-way medium a two-way interaction between us and the listeners. We also know that radio is a secondary medium. Listeners are doing something else while they listen. Why don’t we take advantage of this knowledge? Television does.
Here are some TV examples and how they apply to Radio:
1. Creating a Generic Hashtag for the Show
Every show on TV advertises its own Twitter hashtag where viewers can talk about the show. Create a hashtag for shows on your station so listeners can tweet their thoughts and opinions.
2. Showing Affinity for a Personality’s Polarizing Opinion
Last season, The X-Factor encouraged viewers to tweet #IAmSimon, #IAmLA, #IAmPaula or #IAmNicole to show their affinity for a certain judge’s comments during the show. The X-Factor generated an average of 94,000 social comments per episode, as recorded by Bluefin. How? By getting creative with hashtags, and promoting them constantly throughout the show.
Follow The X Factor model and also use hashtags for polarizing on-air topics. If you and your co-host have opposite opinions, encourage listeners to tweet who they agree with by creating unique hashtags. Plan this when you’re prepping for tomorrow’s show, so you can promote it before you begin the topic, as well as during the topic and afterward.
3. Creating Specific Hashtags for Real-Time Interaction
According to Carri Bugbee, the #TrumpRoast hashtag was used more than 27,000 times on Twitter during the March 2011 telecast of the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump.
Comedy Central gave #TrumpRoast its own hashtag because they knew this episode would generate a reaction. If you have a hot feature that incites a huge reaction from listeners, create a separate hashtag for that feature. Promote it each time the feature runs on-air, and use the hashtag in your own tweets from the station or show accounts.
Include listener comments on-air in real time to make the show itself more interactive.
4. Developing Promotions Around Their Experience
The Shark Week Photo Frenzy – a call for fans to submit photos of how they celebrate Shark Week, got 600,000 page views and over 1,000 submissions. The Facebook Page accrued 30,000 fans in one day, and 116,000 in one week. The ratings result? The highest number of viewers in Shark Week history.
Dateline did something similar with their “How do you Dateline” promotion. They encouraged listeners to share their experience with the show by sending in video to Dateline producers about their routine around the program or tweeting #howdoyoudateline. They saw a huge response: over a 10 month span, the show’s audience on Facebook has grown to 173,000 users from 47,000. Their followers on Twitter doubled.
Keep your highest-rated show top of mind by creating a long-term promotion around your listeners’ experience. How do they listen? Are they listening at work, at the gym, in carpool? Ask them to share with a video or via Twitter. Award a prize to your favorite each week, and give individual shout-outs on-air. For example, “This song is for Vickie, who says she works out during the show”.
5. Driving Traffic to Your Website
According to to lostremote.com, The Food Network generated 640,000 page views in May from Pinterest alone with a strategy that focuses on both show content and talent.
Create strong website content that’s worthy of sharing. Share it via social media with carefully crafted teases to incite a click through. Measure your results frequently to determine which types of posts cause a spike in web traffic.
6. Listening to Feedback
Rick Haskins, The CW’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Digital Programs, admits to lostremote.com that they not only listen, but respond to feedback. When viewers were watching CW shows illegally on pirate sites to avoid the three day delay on the CW app, the CW addressed the issue with the introduction of next day streaming on their own site.
Listen to the feedback. Respond with a solution when possible. If you don’t, your listeners might go somewhere else to find the content they’re looking for.
7. Providing Training for Staff
According to Rick Haskins, the CW provides social media training for their shows’ stars and productions staff.
If your Programming or Promotions staff isn’t capitalizing on the opportunities they have with social media, train them. Hold brainstorming meetings to encourage sharing among stations and shows, or hire someone (me!) who can teach them how to create a strategy that produces results.
Have you tried these TV tricks on your show? How did it work out?
Also published in Radio Ink Magazine