Let’s get real. We often see tension between radio station management and talent when it comes to social media. Management wants to build both station and show brands. Talent are often focused on elevating just their show brand but undoubtedly benefit greatly when the station brand is strong. [Read more…] about Show vs. Station Social Media: Creating a Win-Win
Station management has made a change to your show— reducing the length of the show, moving your daypart, or a change to the co-host lineup. The decision was out of your control and you’re not necessarily excited about the change. How do you respond on social media to changes to your show? [Read more…] about How Do I Respond Publicly to Station Mandated Changes to My Show?
You draft a job description and make a list of qualifications. You start the interview process and realize what you already knew: you won’t find one person who “has it all.”
In a mature company, you can hire to strike a balance among employees in a department, playing off weaknesses and strengths. Potential candidate Steve nails every qualification except social advertising experience? No problem, because your Amanda is a pro. Oh. Wait. You’re a young startup?
That “marketing department” may consist of one (or gasp! two!) employees. There is no one who has a strength to balance that new hire’s weakness. There is no “Amanda.” You’re rolling the dice on one person- Steve. And you’re rolling the dice to determine which of the qualifications from that job description are the least important when you really need them all.
Hiring is tough for startup managers. Almost like choosing the person you’re going to marry. Who will stick with you through thick and thin? Who will commit even when the going gets tough? Who will bring out the best in you (your team)?
For startup companies, every person involved has the opportunity to make a big difference in the business. And every person involved has the potential to pull it down.
Whether you’re developing a strategy for social media, planning to update the station website, creating a business model for streaming, or wondering why you aren’t getting advertisers’ digital dollars, conducting an analysis of the competition is key.
Why? An online analysis of the competitive landscape yields information you may not hear by monitoring the on-air product. You can capitalize on their weaknesses, or reveal your own by finding out what they’re doing better. You can also determine whether competitors are generating revenue from advertisers.
Program Directors spend time listening to the competition. It’s time to start listening online, too.
What To Review
- Their website for design and content. Is the design modern and easy to navigate? Is the content updated frequently? Is the air talent posting blogs, videos and audio regularly? Is the station providing any content you aren’t? From a listener standpoint, is their website more interesting, and does the content give you more reason to visit often?
- Advertisements on their website. Make notes for your Sales Manager. Who are their sponsors for promotions and contests? Is there a video pre-roll advertisement? And don’t forget to listen to the stream.
- Engagement on social media platforms. In addition to the vanity metrics (Facebook likes and Twitter followers), review how many comments and likes each post receives. Is your station getting similar engagement from listeners?
- Social media content. What categories do competitors include in their social media strategy? Are they posting about music and promotions? Do air talent post during their shows? Or is their engagement empty, a product of off-brand internet meme updates?
- Their social media sponsors. Is there any indication that advertisers are spending money on social media? Look at promotional banners or timeline photos, and read posts for mention of sponsors. Look for a contest tab for an advertiser-sponsored contest.
- Competitors in your market. Go beyond stations with similar formats. Do an online analysis of all radio stations in your market that share your target demographic, as well as all stations that boast strong ratings.
- Similar stations outside of your market. Review the online presence of stations in your format that are successful in similar size markets across the country.
- The best [your format] station in the country. While many ideas you glean from market #1 may not be practical in your market, you can tweak some and execute on a smaller scale. If you’re going to learn from competitors, you may as well learn from the best.
- Non-radio brands in your market. Review the websites and social media strategies of local TV stations and companies who do digital well. It is likely that advertisers aren’t giving your piece of their digital budget to other radio stations, but other non-radio brands.
- Use what you’ve learned to improve your digital presence. If you’re missing content categories on your website, add them. If other stations’ talent are more involved online, work with your jocks to increase post frequency. If your website looks like it was built in 1999 and your competitors are rocking a 2015 design, it’s time to push hard for a design update.
- Help your Sales Team target digital advertisers. Give them a list of companies who advertise on both the radio and non-radio brands you reviewed. Explain the different types of sponsorships, ads and contests you saw to begin brainstorming for ideas. It’s easier for Account Executives to sell a great idea than to sell a generic banner ad.
- Set up a Google Alert to monitor your competitors (and your station, too). Add keywords for station and show names, and Google will email you once daily with any news or blogs posted.
- If you haven’t ever run a Google or Facebook ad for the station, do it now. Not only will it improve your website traffic and increase Facebook likes, respectively, but it will show you another realm of competition. It’s important to understand the way Google and Facebook ads work, so you know what potential advertisers are getting from these ads (and what they’re paying for).
Photo credit: Harald Hoyer/Flickr via Creative Commons
What metrics or entities do you include when analyzing competitors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Three clients have approached me in the last few months, all worried because the station they work for is threatening to cancel their Morning Show Facebook page. Not because their behavior on Facebook is out of line with the station brand, or because it is distracting them from the on-air product, but because they view it as a threat to the growth of the station’s Facebook presence.
1. A radio station is only as strong as its shows, its music, and its promotions. A show that is using social media to engage P1s and attract new listeners is serving more than itself- but the station as a whole.
2. A smart radio station Facebook or Twitter account represents all aspects of the station brand. This includes new music, artist news, promotions and contests, and shows. Because there are only so many posts that should be made in one day, the morning show has limited opportunity to promote their show and its content on the station page (typically within the time the show airs).
Having their own Facebook and Twitter presence allows them to be a source of entertainment for listeners 24/7, creating brand loyalty and increasing tune-ins.
3. Fans “like” and “follow” radio stations for different reasons than they do shows or air talent. They expect the station to keep them updated with concerts, music news, contests and promotions. They like or follow a show or air talent accounts to find out more about what they’ve heard on the show, and to personally connect with the specific jock they love. Following a person and a brand are different, and they both have a place in social media.
4. Morning show talent almost always ensure their online presence is in line with the on-air brand. If they are growing a fan base online, it’s because they care about their brand and the show’s success. They want to give listeners what they expect, and would not post any content that doesn’t reflect the show’s branding.
It’s unlikely they will behave badly… Facebook isn’t Vegas, so they know what happens there will always make it back to Management.
5. Facebook is a great place to test on-air topics. Many shows use Facebook as a gauge by posting phone topics the night before. Often a topic they thought would be huge has “no legs,” evident by the lack of engagement on Facebook. And sometimes a small topic turns into a huge segment, as the show sees different angles in Facebook comments. Using Facebook to “test topics” makes the on-air product stronger, as it weeds out the topics that don’t resonate with listeners.
And why not let the show keep their page?
If you’re worried that the show’s on-air promotion of their Facebook page is hurting the growth of the station page, set parameters.
If your station Facebook page lacks morning show presence because they only post on their own, set guidelines for when they must post on the station page.
Just don’t cancel their account.
This is a controversial topic by nature. I welcome your opinions, as they may help guide compromise for Management and Morning Show talent.