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Is Your Station Ready for Radio Influencers?

This strategy is social influencer marketing for radio stations, 2.0

Disruption in the advertising industry can be a good thing. It offers a new avenue for messaging successfully and for growing revenues beyond the norm.

This positivity works for the radio industry only when we recognize that a massive change has occurred in advertising.

This Google Trends chart illustrates how mindshare and awareness of influencer marketing has increased dramatically over the past five years.

The current disruption to which I am referring is “influencer marketing.”

In March 2015, I penned a piece called “Use Influencer Marketing to Your Advantage.” I advised radio stations to delve into the burgeoning field of social media influencers and to use station-operated social platforms most effectively. While I contend that this should remain a priority in your own marketing initiatives, I’d like now to propose that radio enter the influencer game and compete directly for advertising revenue in this red-hot disruptive approach.

For the uninitiated, influencer marketing utilizes social media personalities/content creators to feature products and services through authentic storytelling, primarily on their Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat platforms. The influencer is hired by an advertiser to go into interesting detail about his or her experience of their product or service through photos, video and text. Typically, influencers are compensated based on their reach, engagement and then quantity of their posts.


Let’s take a moment to define these terms.

I’ve seen people use the term “reach” rather loosely — sometimes referring to the total number of followers, sometimes to the actual number of people reached organically with one post. These numbers are quite different. It’s possible for an influencer to have a huge number of followers but for just a fraction of their followers to see their messaging; fortunately, platforms provide these key performance statistics.

Engagement indicates audience interaction with the posted content — view, like, share. It’s important to understand this, if you’re going to devise new metrics to what I’m proposing as “radio influencers.”

The kneejerk, old-school reaction to radio influencers might conclude that they are merely radio personalities endorsing products, much as they’ve been doing since the beginning of the medium. This is not at all what I’m proposing.

This new approach requires authentic, extemporaneous storytelling using commercial airtime over multiple minutes — perhaps even an entire stop-set — with repeated frequency of these segments.

As a bonus, the messaging would be supplemented with written content, video and/or images and pushed out through every available social channel used by the station and the personality. I recommend that the station also allocate funds to “amplify” the social part of the plan so that it’s seen by more than just the organic following.


Who is capable of a being a “radio influencer?” Personalities with great ratings/sizeable audiences, who have the talent to weave products or services into real storytelling. Be certain to have a great producer on board who can spice up the story with just the right sound — actualities, music, sound effects, etc.

These select stars must be enthusiastic partners in this venture and should be well-compensated. Both station and personality do have to agree that the advertiser is the right fit and will not damage the reputation or brand of either party. Advertisers who already use social influencer marketing know that the bigger the star, the less control they may have over every aspect of the message, so it is really important to set expectations about how these segments will be created, reviewed and then approved.

Wait a second … don’t we have to disclose that an influencer campaign is paid advertising? According the FTC, yes, you do! How you do that is between you and your legal counsel, but this is not an insurmountable hurdle. If done with care, it will not affect results.

Could this really generate incremental revenue? Influencer marketing agency MediaKix claims that the influencer category will grow to be as much as a $10 billion market by 2020. Wouldn’t the radio industry like a share?

Be among the first to step up and take advantage of the influencer game.

The author is president of Lapidus Media. Email him at[email protected]. Find past articles at, keyword Lapidus, or click on Promo Power under Columns & Views.