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Is Social Media a Bust for Radio?

Here are the results of an unscientific and thus unrepresentative (but still revealing) poll from Inside Radio:

Half say social networks a revenue-building bust. Facebook is fun and Twitter is a 140-character soapbox but when it comes to making money or contacts, half of Inside Radio readers say social networks haven’t done a thing to advance their career or promote their station. One person tells us, “Social networks, however necessary to what we now do, are an incredible time-waster.” Lots of people said that while they’re on it, they’re not really sure why — or whether it’s doing much good. One person even told us, “I plan to take down my station’s presence on Facebook.”

Interesting, because I wasn’t aware that the purpose of social media was to advance the career of broadcasters or line our pockets. Was that in Facebook’s mission statement, because if so, I missed it.

Social media is about dynamic, efficient, and meaningful connection between 800 million consumers worldwide (and that’s just Facebook).  And it is about brands making the strategic decision to position themselves in that river of activity and interest because their alternative is to be stuck on the shore.

Obviously, half of the respondents to this poll figured that out.  Half figured out that being present in social media is the beginning. But only by having a strategy once you’re there can you achieve your goals and make your presence there worthwhile.

Just launching a page and dropping in some stray posts is not the same as having a social media strategy, and that’s exactly what too many stations do. In fact, if you’re wasting your time on social media then you are reflecting by your behavior that you don’t have a strategy there.  It’s the difference between shopping for a particular item and browsing the stores.

Stop browsing.

In my television work I can tell you that the networks are keenly aware of the value of social media and much time and effort is invested in leveraging that viewer attention along the pathways viewers want to provide it.

What does TV know that half of the respondents in this poll don’t know?

Look at the massive integration of Facebook into Clear Channel’s IHeartRadio. What does Clear Channel know that half of the respondents in this poll don’t know?

I would be willing to bet that the broadcaster who wants to yank his station’s Facebook presence doesn’t have much of one to begin with.  Nor has he ever sat down and answered the key questions all of us should answer before going down the social media path:

  1. Why am I participating in social media?  What is my strategy?

  2. What are my goals, and are these goals reasonable?

  3. How can I measure my success?

  4. What tactics will I employ to achieve these goals?

Anyone who expects money or career success to sprinkle down upon them from Heaven simply because they sign up for Facebook and Twitter should think again.

Social media is powered by people and their tools.  Like a hammer, you can use these tools with the skill of a professional or you can bang your thumb instead of the nail.

So is that the hammer’s fault?

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