11/17

Radio Social Media Managers Are Near Tears

FB-thumb-down

Yesterday I published a post that detailed how the typical radio station’s Facebook strategy is, at best, off-base, and at worst, non-existent.

To coin a phrase, that post “went viral” and generated a bunch of response, most of which came privately (such is the fear of consequences in the radio industry).

I’m going to share some of those responses with you along with my answers. All of the feedback I received is thoughtful and sincere, and most of it reflects an inherent friction between doing what’s best and doing what one is told. Rarely do these seem to be the same things, unfortunately.

Go review my original post to get my take. Here’s some of the feedback I received from broadcasters in the trenches:

Re: your “facebook strategy” post. The challenge that most radio stations face is the strict Facebook algorithm. The number of actual views decreases significantly when we link to the stations’ websites compared to outside linking to mainstream websites. It’s interaction vs page views/web hits.

I believe you, but it’s funny that most of the Facebook posts I see do indeed link to the radio station’s websites – it’s just that they feature somebody else’s repurposed content conveniently embedded on those station sites. So much for inviting views!

Meanwhile, the idea of linking out to third party sites may increase the odds that your fans will see your posts, but so what? How does this accomplish the strategic objective of your radio brand, which – ultimately – is to be listened to by more people more often?

What Facebook is trying to do here is to force brand pages to behave like an individual’s Facebook page where links scatter everywhere – or force brand pages to pay for distribution knowing that no sensible brand page has any interest in behaving like an individual’s page. Playing the game Facebook’s way will benefit only Facebook.

Meanwhile, of course, compelling content is the best antidote to Facebook’s stingy algorithm. Yes, “compelling” is easy to write and hard to do, but that’s why Facebook’s algorithm is so stingy in the first place – because they place the user experience (and the revenue that experience generates) first.

Just saw your Facebook article and don’t feel like commenting publicly. So, of course you want content generated in-house, but what kind of content? And who is going to do that? What are your goals? If you need page hits, being a curator might still be your best bet. If you need interactions, then you might work with integrated show content. The thing is, someone has to do the work. As it is now, it has been an entire top down mandate to get it done, meaning an separate job for those of us who already might be doing several. And because managers might not understand it well, there is a new team of social media directors who tell people to post more and generate reports as their job. Never providing strategy or ideas for what actually goes viral.

The kind of comment that should be generated in-house depends on the nature of the brand, the desires of its audience, and the definition of “success” for the brand’s social media effort (look at my TMZ illustration as an example). In my mind, any social media effort which doesn’t drive towards clear business objectives (i.e., revenue and/or ratings) is misguided. And that’s why typical radio social media efforts are underfunded and measured according to pointless vanity metrics. Broadcasters will never invest in initiatives that are not tied in some way to ratings or revenue, nor should they. But neither should they pretend to have a social media strategy when they’re just playing patty cake with Facebook.Any social media effort which doesn't drive towards clear business objectives is misguided Click To Tweet

That viral video is the dream… But really, when you tell managers they need local content, it means someone has to do it. People are burnt and if you are not the one creating OR curating it seems simple once it’s done. We need help. We need time and getting paid for that time in an era of hourly trackers doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. I’m here buried in multiple stations, and edicts and demands that far exceed the time allotted, I’m overwhelmed.

When more than a third of your inbound traffic comes from Facebook specifically, that should be as much argument as a manager needs to get serious about social media strategy. Unless digital revenue is off the radar and banner ads are all added value, of course. This is all about building a business model. And a business model requires a structure to generate business. And, as the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money.

I saw your post and thought of course he’s right but then thought my managers would think so too and just send down the next instructions for all self-generated content. I’m near tears trying to make all this work and knowing I can’t keep up with the Kardashians, but knowing if I don’t my value is gone… Part of that is changing focus, but part is people who don’t know what they are doing demanding more without knowing how it happens. Back to work.

I’ll say what’s obvious: Perhaps managers should establish business objectives for social media efforts, then ask their social media jockeys the execute the best strategy to achieve those objectives, rather than simply mandating an endless stream of me-too Kardashian videos in a relentless pursuit of ephemeral me-too traffic that adds no value to the user experience, no incremental value to the brand, and no dollars to the bottom line. Okay, maybe those specific words aren’t so obvious, but the idea certainly is.

So what’s the bottom line? It’s that many in the radio industry do not have a social media business strategy and thus are directing their underlings to chase the wrong outcomes the wrong ways. What your employees want is a clear and sensible strategy. Then they want you to let them transform that strategy into tactics. And if they do this right and do this well – if your strategy becomes successful – they want to be paid for their effort.

Sounds good to me.

* = required field

Dive Into The Blog