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Tweet This!

How do we utilize social media and the mobile phone to our advantage?

“Everyone on our staff should be Tweeting! How many fans have signed up for our Facebook page? Isn’t it time we started sending out text alerts to our listeners? What’s the update on our mobile Web site?”

It doesn’t seem possible to make it through a programming or marketing discussion now without Twitter, Facebook, text messaging or mobile applications as the hot topic.

The common wisdom says that social media and the mobile phone are vital components to the success of radio. I’m on that bus, yet I struggle with the time invested in the tactics vs. the return in terms of ratings and revenue. Far too many people waste time trying one thing after another with little apparent result.

Many people in the industry also have confused Twitter and Facebook with broadcasting. Just last week, I had a major disagreement with a talent because she thought it was vital that her 237 Twitter followers get a breaking news story before she broke it on the air five minutes later.

Sure enough, the competition beat her to the punch on-air. They even got the news extra fast — because they subscribe to her Twitter feed!

Even after I pointed this out, she still felt she’d “won” because she’d Tweeted first. This was nonsense. She has thousands of listeners each quarter hour.

So the question is: How do we utilize social media and the mobile phone to our advantage?

Every program director must develop a specific action plan. Instead of everyone on staff doing their own thing individually, set common goals and build the tactical structure to reach those goals while showcasing your brand in the best way possible. Here are some examples:

Twitter: By the end of the year, we want to have 5,000 followers sign up for our combined Twitter feeds. We will accomplish this through a set number of promotional announcements on-air, banner ads on our Web site and daily Facebook plugs, driving people to sign up.

We will create one aggregated feed that takes all the individual feeds and pushes them out together as our station feed. This is the feed that will appear on the Web site’s homepage.

Every time a person Tweets they will include a tiny URL that brings people to the station Web site for more details about the topic.

We’ll determine how many Tweets a day will be used for promotional messaging (like tune-in promos). If all we’re Tweeting are reasons to listen, we’re not going to hold our followers for long. They joined us to be entertained and connected, not to be pounded with “Hey, at 10:20 a.m., tune in for the weather!”

Facebook: By the end of the year, we want to have 5,000 friends on Facebook.

Every on-air personality will make at least two daily contributions to our page. When listeners call and want to talk for awhile, we will tell them about the conversation happening all the time on our Facebook page.

We will post one new photo per day, tagging everyone we know in the picture. Text Messaging: We will obtain 5,000 opt-ins by the end of the year.

We will create a promotion plan. We will sell in one client each month for $5,000 per month. That client will be included in a minimum of 60 promos per month and receive seven words on the kickback message for every text message.

We will use text messaging for a different purpose than we use Twitter.

Mobile Web Site: What, we don’t have one yet? Without a specially formatted page, our Web site is virtually useless on a smart phone. It is not very expensive to join this party. Once we do, what’s our goal?

Finally, see if you can also come up with a variation of the following statement:

“While important, we will not allow discussions about social media and mobile applications to dominate our goal of creating the best possible content for our core business: on-air broadcasting via radio.”

The author is president of Lapidus Media. Contact him at[email protected].