07/01

Don’t force your Personalities to be Social Media Wonks

Lead_a_horse_to_water I hear it all the time:

"We want our personality to blog, but he wants more money to do it."

Or…

"Our personality says he'll blog, but he doesn't."

So what should you do?  Should you force him to blog?  Push him to tweet?  Bonus him for Facebook posts?

I don't think so.

And here's why:  You can lead a horse to water – you can even pay him to stand at the trough – but horses have to drink because they want to – not because you want them to. And not because you're bribing them to do so.

You know how much all those writers for the Huffington Post get paid?

Nothing!  

And that's the Huffington friggin' Post – with 12 million uniques this month alone.

Who said that it was necessary for your DJ's to blog, anyway?  Who said it was critical for your air talent to tweet?  It's not.

It is important for your station brand to be part of the listener conversation, no doubt. So somebody needs to dive in.  Somebody needs to blog.  Somebody needs to tweet.  Somebody needs to have online dialogues with your fans.  Somebody needs to do all that.

But it doesn't need to be the talent.  

Particularly if that talent is stubborn about the process, confused about what they're being paid to do here and now (which, technically, is to do whatever's good for their show and the brand), or – most tragically – technically inept.

If the talent won't or can't do it, I say take down their web page.  Drop their blog.  Banish their tweets.  Kill their Facebook.  If they will not jump in with both feet then don't pretend they did.  Don't insult the intelligence of your audience, please.  Users of these tools know the difference between a volunteer army of tweeting station representatives and a conscripted, stodgy crank who needs support from the IT guy every time his computer goes to sleep.

Aren't there some enthusiastic nobodys at your station chomping at the bit to take control of your digital assets?  Aren't there new voices waiting to be heard, new faces waiting to be seen?  The way your brand shapes up online may – and perhaps should – be totally different from the way it shapes up on-air.

One day, the fresh-faced online star on your staff may outshine his on-air counterpart.  And on that humiliating day, the fancy, too-good-for-the-Internet high-priced talent will learn the great lesson of all employment agreements:

The universe doesn't care what your contract says; it only cares when your contract ends.

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