Friday, March 21, 2014

Your Brand's Social Media Point of View

One of the real BASIC building blocks in building a great radio station is to, of course, build a brand.  We usually start mixing the ingredients; music mix, personality interaction, logo, positioning, benchmarks, and the overall attitude or packaging of the product.  All of these pieces have to fit together.  

We wouldn't suddenly whip out a Metallica song on a Country station nor would we be eager to blend in a Carrie Underwood tune on a rock station.  Our personalities also have to follow the brand and stay focused on the target audience in their on air style, content and language.   All programmers have these basic building blocks at the core of their on-air products and their presentation to the audience.  

The question here is 'does your Social Media content and presence follow your format?'  It may or it may not but we all know that to get that Social Media POV in line with the Brand you will need to have a structure and a plan.   Much like we have our clocks, positioning statements, and the POV of our air staff all carefully orchestrated to support and build the brand for the target audience - do we have the same structure, parameters, and understanding built into our Social Media presence?  

When you look at various stations and their Social Media presence you often see a lot of potential for concerns in matching the brand and it's Social Media POV.   Sometimes the people posting are just pulling in anything that looks like fun.  Other times you can sense confusion and not much being posted at all.  Still other times it seems to be focused on promotions, client events, or recycling programming and ignoring the audience real interests.  

The key here is to build a Format for Social Media.  First make sure the posting team knows who the audience really is on your Social Media world.  What is their lifestyle, entertainment, activities, and how do they live.  Take a look at the pages of some of your fans - you can see a lot of what they are into with just a few clicks.  Also build a solid plan that outlines the types of content that will engage them, how often to post, and also look at 'formating the posts.'   How loose or formal do you want to be in the language, how and when should you use photos/links/videos, and also how should you interact with them in comments.  

Just like we fret over where we should put our 'A' records in the hour we should also be looking at our Social Media interaction with the same strategic and brand building systems and thoughts we put into the on-air product.   

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Giving Talent The Time To Gain Audience

As a consultant we often run into situations where new talent is brought into the station.  Often the rush is on to get the new personality in place, usually just a month or maybe even days before a big Fall or Spring book. The Personalities and the PD work hard trying to help the talent get into the market, understand the station's target, find ways to engage the audience, and lots of time in critique sessions.

Of course the results from the book hit 5-6 months later and instantly everyone expects to see the big turnaround in the daypart, and maybe the whole station.  'Surely the audience should be jumping and we should see the results right now.'  

You have to keep in mind that it takes patience and persistence, as well as a great job with the show to make an impact.   The audience also has to find out about the show, get used to it, start to catch a buzz in the market from it, and they also have to get comfortable enough with the show to welcome it into their bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and their car.  This doesn't happen the minute you sign on a new Morning Team or bring in a new afternoon jock.

Also consider that the people that fill out diaries and respond to the ratings are not all likely to be the Early Adapters in the market that are first to find out about new trends, products and entertainment.  In today's world with much of the sample gathering going on with telephones and in the mail they are probably more likely to be the Late Adapters or even the 'last to realize anything' Laggards.  It's very likely that these groups can take 10 - 20 months to even realize the change and longer to adapt to it.

Yes this may sound like common sense to you, but how many times have we seen talent bounce around and finally settle in where they get a chance to build an audience and they take off.  Even if the show isn't taken off after a weak initial book there is often a complete overhaul or lots of concern, pressure and doubt about it.

It takes time to build a winner.   Take an example from the classic hit film Caddy Shack.  The recent sad passing of Harold Ramis reminded all of us of his comic film making legacy.   But consider the start for his first director's role with Caddy Shack.  The film came out in June 1980 with only around 2 stars from the critics and only hit 3 million in it's opening weeks.  The film struggled over that summer for an audience so much so that one of the key writers Doug Kenney got so depressed that he committed suicide in Hawaii.  Of course Caddy Shack went on to gross over 40 million - not bad as the film cost only 6 million to make.

Be patient and realize it takes while for talent to rise to the top.