Diving Into Social? Check the Water First
Because Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and
other social media platforms are the darlings of the media world, the radio
industry is spending substantial time, and in some cases money, trying to join
There are excellent reasons to
participate, but we must be realistic about what we can accomplish and how we
can utilize these tools to drive ratings and revenue.
The goal of this overview is to motivate
your top managers to have an informed discussion about how deeply you should
delve into social media.
If you decide to go all in, you should
not rely on someone who simply uses Facebook a lot, or who “lives” on Twitter. It’s
not uncommon to find that the person at a radio station in charge of social media
is in that position simply as a volunteer, or because he or she has the
rudimentary knowledge about how to share material.
you hear someone say either, “I’m a social media expert” or “Here’s a list of social
media best practices,” get details about his experience.
True social media experts are rare, and
many so-called “best practices” in social media turn out to be nothing more than
a series of habits, which lack real research or bona-fide statistical evidence pointing
to their efficacy in the business realm.
How does one locate a social media
“expert?” With some exceptions, those who really know how to manipulate social
media have had the necessary financial funding to access or execute perceptual
and focus group studies. An expert in the social media field will also have had
extensive experience utilizing several of the top real-time Web topic
measurement tools, which are expensive and typically affordable only to major
agencies and big brands.
Hiring a qualified consultant with a
portfolio of success stories can drive fast, measureable results. Which brings us
to my main point: If your social media strategy isn’t structured to drive ratings
or revenue, your investment in this area should be small.
You may still want to participate, but you
should do so while creating boundaries in terms of staff time spent on social
media and on-air emphasis in promoting these platforms. Having a strong
community on Twitter may be a great way to build loyalty for your morning team;
just make sure the morning crew doesn’t spend so much time tweeting about
themselves that the show’s actual content suffers.
It is vital to discuss and strategize how
to deal with social media issues. But no matter how far you decide to go with
social media, remember that your number one communication asset is still your
own airwaves. With so much noise about Facebook and Twitter, it takes a strong
leader to remind staff that these are just complimentary features.
Mark Lapidus is president of Lapidus Media. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are just a few issues you are likely to encounter sooner or later
on these platforms:
Racism and sexism from people who post. What’s your plan when hate messages
appear in comments on your station-sanctioned Facebook page? Do you have
someone monitoring the comments regularly? If so, have you directed them to
remove questionable statements, or do you want them to engage in
What’s your plan to deal with on-air talent who tweet or re-tweet “news” that
was not verified and has the potential to create conflict?
Will your on-air talent be permitted to maintain “personal” Facebook pages
and/or Twitter accounts that they use only for friends and family?
If copyrighted material (like photos) gets posted by your staff, who takes it
down?(Attribution is not enough
to protect you).
Who holds passwords to your social media accounts? If the person who set the
accounts up suddenly departs your organization, are they able to hold you
Who determines how often your station posts to Facebook or tweets? Who is in
charge of tweeting back to someone who tweets to you?
Who monitors your analytics?
Who answers questions posted on Facebook?
How does your social media plan integrate with your SMS (text messaging)
How do your social media assets tie to your website?