Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Sample Changes the Game

The recent news that an analysis of Facebook friends has shrunk the old 6 Degrees of Separation theory down to 4.74 world wide and 4.37 in the U.S.  You can read all about it here.  This is a significant finding to all of us in radio programming on a couple of levels:

  1. The Audience is woven tighter than we imagined.  The real power to spread your reach and to gain more P1s really lies in the audience you already have.  If you can start a 'spark' in that group it can spread quickly.  The key is starting the spark.  
  2. Social Networks are playing a huge role.  The ability to interact with the audience and grow it's size has never been easier.  
  3. Sample Size does matter.   We've always lived on random sample world of the normal curve and standard deviations to predict the size of our audience, the music they like, the images they carry on our products.  The original study in the 60s that produced the 6 Degree theory was based on 296 volunteers who sent postcards to friends.  The Facebook 4.7 Degree theory was based on breaking down the 'friends' data of millions of users.  They had ample data from everyone on Facebook to see who they were connected to.  This is a 25% difference in the numbers here.   That is a pretty big swing from one study to the other.   Consider if you downloaded your next book and found the numbers swinging 25% up or down for no obvious reason.  The bigger sample size did show a significant difference in the result.  
The real lesson for us here are points 1 and 2.  If you start to visualize your audience as an interlinked group of people and start to interact with them on their level you have the potential to develop a huge reach.  Working from the 'bottom up' - one listener to another - is the path to building your reach.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

No Time For Social Media??

Just what the programming team needed, another task to accomplish.   Chances are your brand is trying to  keep up with the audience and the community while you seem to have fewer players on the team than you ever imagined a few years ago.

Now you've made the dive into Social Media in addition to your web site and of course keeping the content hot out of the speakers.  The Facebook Page and the Twitter worlds need attention if you are going to build and interact with your listeners.   Having just 2,000 likes when your on-air cume is 100,000 doesn't make Facebook very effective.   Just posting some pics on the page and pushing the air staff to 'post some stuff' won't help you develop a conversation with the audience or build the size of your fans in either Twitter or Facebook.   It has to be topical, entertaining, unique and clever if it's going to have an impact on the audience.  Obvious self promotion can be a big problem in building you brand - this audience is pretty marketing savvy and doesn't enjoy boring tricks.

The key to making Facebook and Twitter work is having an organization or a system so you can start to get a view of what is working and what is not.  Just like we have Selector to help us play the HITS more often and control the music  you need to have some kind of system to manage the posts on Facebook and Twitter.  Having a system that also makes it easy to create in is also a big plus.  Being able to post videos, pics, audio, flash, links, and with a system that is simple for everyone to grasp.  You can't spend hours messing around with training or complex computer systems.

We also need to know what is working and what is being ignored or damages our brand.  Just as we used charts, sales, call out, research and requests to get a picture of the music we play we need data here on how the audience interacts with the posts.

Then there is monitoring the pages.  Keeping the language under control, making sure no one is spamming you and your audience and also being able to follow up on any questions or complaints from the fans.  You can't spend your life with Facebook on your screen 24/7 to be the site police.

Lastly you have to use all the features of the page.   Making up contests, building tab pages, linking the stream, promoting events, directing them to the website, adding them to your database, and biggest of all getting them to listen to the station more.   You also have to do all of this within Facebook's rules.  Forgetting to use their contest rules and follow their regulations can cost you your page and all of it's fans.

Opps almost forgot you also have to keep up with the Facebook and even Twitter news feed scoring systems.  Appearing on your fan's news feeds with the new system of top stories is even harder than it was.  You have to have relevant, vibrant and topical content to get in their club today.  The only way to improve is to keep an eye on your progress and measure what is working and not working.  You need constant feedback to keep up.

To get all of this you'll need a lot of sources.  There are publishers and some include some analytics.   Facebook also tells you some facts about how the fans are using your pages in their metrics.  You can go to your graphic/web team to try and get help designing Tab pages for contests etc.   Facebook does some monitoring for you, but it may not keep your team from needing to watch the page.  Lots of jumping around for the facts here.

Then, of course, you have to manage the team.  Teach them how to use all these tools and how to entertain the audience in a medium that nearly everyone is still learning about.   It's also a world where Facebook or Twitter can change the rules at anytime or one where new tactics can pop up and change the game quickly.

The big brands are hiring whole teams to manage their Social Media presence.    Look at the Gatorade Social Media HQ!!!

There are programs to help you get it all organized.  There are system developing here, if you want to know more contact me.