5 Things Social Media can Learn from Radio

It may surprise you that social media shares some qualities with the more traditional medium of radio. Obviously the technology is very different, but there is a good deal which bloggers and social media people can learn from radio done right.

Here are five key things social media can learn from radio:

One-to-One communication

Good radio is a one-to-one communication. That is to say that any host who knows their stuff is going to stay away from referring to listeners as a mass audience. You focus on making it a casual conversation between two friends and you talk directly to that one person. MMM! Now that’s good radio!

Unless you are doing a live event and even if there is a room full of people, each individual in a room assumes you are talking just to them. Good radio hosts know this and talk to one person and one person only. This is because they know that doing so strengthens the connection between host and listener and cuts through distractions. I always try to blog as if I am writing to one person. You don’t see people huddled around a PC monitor do you? It’s a one-to-one communication.

Be Provocative

An old talk radio pro once told me that you don’t get many callers talking about sunshine and puppies. Sadly for talk radio, this seems to be true, but putting aside cynicism, he has a good point. If you don’t provoke emotions with your content then you aren’t going to draw much traffic and less conversions.

This doesn’t mean going “Fox News” on people, but you should be thinking about the emotions your posts or tweets generate. I believe an emotional response is the first step to motivating people to take action and I use every one of them when and where applicable.

Ask yourself when writing what emotions/thoughts you are trying to engender in your reader. I think the process which leads from reading to action is this:

  • Emotion
  • Thought
  • Action

Use Surveillance

I have mixed feelings about editorial calendars. Although primarily a sales tool, they are crucial as a guide for effective content marketing or just blogging in general. Assuming of course, you don’t go completely overboard and draw up a calendar that makes a NASA mission plan look like a grocery list.

I suggest using an editorial calendar as a way to initiate discussions about what kind of content is relevant to your market and then expanding it to help you target the events and subjects that fit. My only word of caution would be to avoid any old school print mentality which might elevate that editorial calendar to any kind of godly status – it’s a guide and not a golden calf.

When I was in radio I used to keep an events calendar handy and a snap shot point form of my demographic – this helped me stay on the topics which my listeners found interesting.

Be Accessible

While on air I always tried to answer every call that came in or I made sure I put the phones on hold so people would know I was busy. As a kid, growing up listening to radio, I used to think it was so cool that I could just pick up the phone and talk to the guy or gal behind the microphone. This is one thing which make the web and social media so cool! You can connect and engage directly with people with relative ease.

I honestly feel that if someone takes the time to leave me a comment or tweet or email me, they deserve a prompt and thoughtful response just as fast as I can provide it for them. Normally, if you don’t hear back from me almost immediately, you can be reasonably sure a piano has been dropped on my head.

You don’t have to be quite that fanatic about it though. If it’s email or a blog comment you should respond the same day (depending on how fast the comments are flowing) and Tweets should get slightly faster service. Just don’t hamper or kill the flow of conversation.

Get Involved

Good radio jocks know that to be accepted into any community one must be involved and contributing to it. On air, this means getting out to community events such as fundraisers. Online, this means contributing to the community with relevant content and being active daily. Don’t just babble on constantly about what you are doing! Ask people what they are doing and engage them on those topics. Get involved with issues which resonate with the community you are trying to reach and make a positive contribution. You’ll score karma points and feel good knowing that any business gains you make are a value add.