Social Networking The Radio Way

Social media can be a bit like a bunch of people with megaphones blurting out their messages one-way. People will cover their ears (unsubscribe) and tune that out. Use social media to ‘listen’ to and learn more about your audience. – Brian J Carroll

This didn’t make the top stories. So maybe you missed Glen Beck filing a lawsuit against a web site. It seems a gentleman who didn’t appreciate Mr. Beck’s style started a site called glenbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1999.com, a parody site. Beck filed the suit because, ironically enough, of free speech issues.  And he lost.  Puts a new light on that Arguing With Idiots book title, doesn’t it?

But don’t take this as a politically charged article, it’s not. It’s about how pre-digital people and companies chafe at not being in control.

If I don’t like John Frost, I can start johnfrostwearsuglybaseballties.com and he can’t do a thing about it. And frankly he shouldn’t!  It’s only when your brand is this clear and this successful that people react. Looking at it that way, a parody is a sign of success, and maybe something to aspire to. After all, true personality, like a true brand, is a double eyed sword. If you’re clear enough, some people won’t like it. On fact if no one is complaining or picking on you, you’re failing. The opposite of love isn’t really hate, it’s indifference.

The problem Glen Beck has is really one of who’s in control. We’re not on control anymore, and anyone with a computer and $25 can make fun of you. Your megaphone doesn’t work like you want. Get used to it and adapt, Mr. Beck.  You’ll have plenty of company as we all learn about how the consumer, in our case the listeners, are gaining control and becoming partners in the production of all forms of entertainment.

It’s Not About Technology – It’s Something More Difficult

“Concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies.” – Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff, authors of Groundswell.

When I’m speaking to groups I like to ask the question, “Why is your station on facebook?”  The answer is always surprising.  It usually comes down to (a) So we can let people know what the station is doing, or (b) Because everyone else does.  Neither one of them is very strategic.

Social networking like Facebook isn’t an excuse to use a new technology to shout the same old  message at your listeners.  It requires updating and freshening, something that can be automated like voice-tracking.  It requires thought and conversation with your fans, not “imaging.”  But even before that, it takes some thought to develop a strategy, so your operation is intentional.

Facebook has to do with relationships, and let’s face it, we’ve all learned that relationships take time and attention.  You have to pay attention to a relationship, not take it for granted.  Oh yeah, it helps if you pay attention to people when you want a relationship too.  Much more difficult than, say, voice tracking or slogans.

The other thing I ask that causes some confused looks is, “So you have a Facebook page, do you have more P1 listeners because of it?”  No one seems to know.    No one seems to have thought it through, because few know what Facebook can do for them.  Too soon, too much to do, too little interest in strategy.

Is your Facebook designed to increase awareness, build loyalty, and is it a research tool to learn about your fans?  It could be one or more of those, because they’re all legitimate uses.  But if you’re not intentional, and don’t have a strategy, it’s doing you no good at all.