“It’s a fad.” “Where’s the ROI in that?” “How’s that going to drive ratings?” Radio managers and talent alike were skeptical of many of the biggest digital innovations when they first disrupted the industry and its operations. But today? These innovations build our brands, drive deeper connections with our listeners, and provide new platforms for monetization. Here are 25 digital innovations that have changed radio for the better:
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Remember when (cue Alan Jackson for you country fans)… Facebook was the only social network whose algorithm changes could get your panties or whitie tighties in a bunch?
Instagram recently announced that their feed will change from a chronological feed to an algorithm-based feed.
So what does this mean for your station or show? It means that you need to keep doing what you’re doing and just create good content.
Users are upset because they don’t like change and enjoy the existing Instagram user experience. Marketers are freaking out because they envision (and wisely so) that this change will make it more difficult for their posts to hit follower feeds unless they buy ads.
But you aren’t a marketer. You aren’t pushing a product and trying your best to find a creative way to sell on social. You’re selling the one thing that organically performs well: engaging content.
The trick is that you need to know what “engaging content” is. The silver lining of this change is that Instagram will make that obvious for you if you’ll listen. You won’t have to worry as much about the best time to post and whether you need to repeat posts throughout the day to reach more of your audience. You can focus on testing and measuring what types of content work instead.
So how do you do that? You regularly measure which types of posts drive the best results. If your station doesn’t subscribe to social media measurement or listening tools, you can setup an Excel spreadsheet and track your progress on your own. Here are tips to making the algorithm work for you:
- Define “success” first. Are you trying to drive likes, comments, or traffic to the website? Increase your followers? Know what you need to measure.
- Research hashtags regularly. Post a combination of hashtags with each post. Limit yourself to 7 or fear looking like a spammer (someone has to tell you that!). Include a mix of station hashtags, market specific local hashtags, relevant to that post hashtags, and trending hashtags to increase your reach. Note whether certain hashtags seem to drive more engagement.
- Pay attention to post types. Does your biggest response come from personality-focused posts? Entertainment news? In-studio video? Personal posts unrelated to your radio show? Track your posts long enough and you’ll know what your listeners want to see from you. Here’s a creative example on how to use Instagram video to promote entertainment headlines from Shoboy in the Morning.
- Spend time on your captions. The best images or videos fail to get response without a strong caption. Think of the caption as your on-air tease; craft it carefully. Track whether certain types of captions drive more engagement (i.e. short ones vs. long ones, questions vs. fill in the blanks).
- Ask for the engagement you want (but don’t sound desperate). “Double tap if you agree” after posting an opinionated caption is a classy way to ask for engagement. “Tag everyone you’ve ever met” is not.
- Try new things. If no one likes it, Instagram will make sure it gets buried in the feed. You can take some risks and see how your ideas pan out.
- Leverage what you know about Facebook. The Instagram algorithm-based feed will react similar to Facebook’s News Feed. Although Instagram is a visual social media, Facebook (and the rest of the web) is becoming that, too. It’s a fair assumption to begin with that the types of content that do well within the News Feed will do well on Instagram, too.
- Re-strategize. That’s right. When you collect this data, you need to set aside time to interpret it and shift your strategy. If no one ever likes your posts about your pet squirrel, it’s time to tell Rocky you’re sorry but he isn’t an Instaceleb.
For an excellent write-up on how all of your favorite social media networks’ algorithms work, check out this Hubspot post.
Photo credit: Flickr/miguelb
You’ve seen (and used, I hope!) hashtags on other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. The hashtag, a word or multiple words preceding the ‘#’ without spacing, is a method of categorizing online content and giving it context.
While using hashtags on Facebook used to be a faux pas, that is no longer true now that Facebook introduced hashtags in June. Facebook users have been able to make public status updates for some time, but what was missing was a way to find public posts on a specific topic. The hashtag is that missing piece for Facebook. Now you can click a hashtag to read all public posts (and posts from your friends).
Take “I love #KDWB,” for example. Clicking #KDWB within this post would return all posts with that hashtag, connecting fans of KDWB with one another. (Hint: it works just like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr.) See my bulldog image at right for a general example.
So what’s to love about Facebook hashtags?
- Using them will extend the reach of your posts to non-fans. That’s right- people who haven’t liked your page can now find your posts and engage with them. Think of hashtags as a free alternative to page post ads. You can increase your reach on a post to non-fans without purchasing Facebook ads. (Hashtags likely won’t be as effective as ads on increasing page likes, but you should see an increase in reach as Facebook hashtags become more popular.)
- You can now create a cross-platform hashtag promotion, accepting entries from fans on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
- In addition to promotions and contests, radio can use Facebook hashtags as well as Twitter’s for on-air interaction, increasing the interaction and number of responses from listeners on show topics.
- Hashtags will supercharge Facebook ad campaigns. In addition to demographic data and interests (based on pages they like), you can now target people who are talking about a certain topic using hashtags. So, you might select females 18-49 who have been talking about #music #radio or #Kesha for a Top 40 ad campaign.
- When crafting social media posts, there is one less thing to change between your Facebook and Twitter copy.
- They will make Facebook a player for event marketing. Twitter has owned social media promotion for events, but now Facebook is in the game. You can create a hashtag for a conference, promotion or concert and use it on both platforms.
What are your thoughts on Facebook hashtags? Have you started using them yet?
Right when you get the hang of Instagram, the Facebook-owned social network comes out with an update to compete with social video powerhouse, Vine (owned by Twitter). You can still add photos to Instagram, but now you can also share 15-second videos.
Much like Vine, Instagram allows you to stitch together video clips into a 15-second montage. You can apply one of 13 filters and use the Cinema feature to stabilize your video, too. Don’t forget to choose your thumbnail so users who don’t press play still get a sense of what the video is about.
So what kind of videos should you share? Here are some ideas to jumpstart your brainstorming:
- What’s happening in the studio between commercial breaks?
- Record one Q&A from your next in-studio guest. Consider captioning the video with your question and leaving the 15-second video for your guest’s answer.
- Video your next musical guests singing the hook to their latest song live.
- Share intriguing clips of morning show stunts, driving viewers to the website for longer video.
- Get creative with promotion announcements. Shoot video of yourself announcing the latest contest or promotion, or of the studio while the promo plays. Giving away a flyaway? Head to the airport to record a plane taking off.
- Develop a street promotion with a specific hashtag. For example, give away t-shirts or concert tickets on the street and shoot video at different locations. Get client sponsorship to monetize the promotion.
- Ask your Sales department which clients play the station in their businesses. Shoot the staff dancing to the music. Better yet, create a promotion and ask local businesses to upload their own videos.
- See someone jamming in her car to your station? Shoot a quick video (and get her permission to post).
- Record a ride in the station vehicle.
- Record hints to trivia contests and post with the time the contest airs. Be sure and comment with the answer after the contest is over, as listeners will comment and guess just for fun.
- Develop a character for Instagram, or make an on-air character come to life. Shoot regular video and create a hashtag for this feature.
- Share video of an artist meet-&-greet.
- Create a feature just for Instagram video. For example, “Ask Steve.” Have listeners email questions and post a video every Monday of Steve answering a listener question. Using the hashtag #AskSteve would allow users to watch any “Ask Steve” videos they’ve missed.
- Create testimonials. Ask P1 fans at events if you can post video of them sharing why they love the station or show.
Whatever you do, just do it. Radio’s only disadvantage is that it’s an audio medium in a visual world. With Instagram video (and other video platforms, too), you have the opportunity to bridge that gap.
Note: If you don’t see the upload video option in your app, check for an Instagram update and make sure your phone’s operating system is up-to-date.
Also published on The Randy Lane Company blog.