Thursday, June 14, 2012

Overview Part 2 - What Facebook Posts are Getting Reactions

Last week in our 5 month summary thoughts on the 25 Radio Stations in our Facebook 'Focus Group' we looked at their growth in fans, reactions to Time Line,  and overall patterns in the growth of activity since the first of the year in the interactions with the fans/audience.   Really there is a lot of progress to report at a number of the stations in our group.

So what posts are really standing out?   Here are some observations: 

  • Station Liners are pretty much a waste of time.  Plugging that you will do another Hi Low game in 20 minutes might show up on a few newsfeeds, but don't expect much activity.  Station 'plugs' only work if you have a HUGE event.  For example KISS in LA did get some healthy activity in announcing their Wango Tango summer concert and no doubt will see good results as they promote it more in their posts.    Most station posts are not that big and don't seem to do much other than reduce your 'talking about' metrics.  You can also find that the fans get tired of the 'hype' in their newsfeed.   When that happens and they ignore it you will come up less in the future, they could also decide to unlike you, or they could shift your status to 'hide posts' and you are off the grid.  
  • Polls and Questions.  Unless they are HUGE topics this is another topic you would think would generate more interest and just doesn't.  Asking which Oreo cookie they like and the other often trivial polls and questions we see just doesn't get them to click the mouse. 
  • Pics and Links.  Linking to a big or interesting story, posting a really interesting, shocking, clever, cute or sexy pic draws the biggest reaction.  
  • Music News - This can be effective, but it has to either be something buzz worthy or it has to be an artist that is so huge right now that everyone's gonna at least 'bat an eye.'  Still for most music stations posting Music News does fit the audience and the fans - it should be an 'expected post' from your personalities.   The key is to make it personal - not just a link to a song or a video. 
The real 'test' for most posts lies in 3 BUTTONS.  Press one of them and you will start to get a reaction and engage the fans. 

  1. The Emotion Button - This can be the BIG button.  Just look at the posts from WGCI on Woman who gave birth weeks after dying or the tribute to Lisa Lopes on the anniversary of her death - both were around 3,000 likes and tons of comments.  Another example was a Confederate Flag prom dress that was banned at Project 961 in Atlanta  Life and Death stuff really hits home if you handle it right.   
  2. The Sexy Button - This works more on Male stations than Female formats, but it clearly works in both.  Of course the key is to make it tasteful enough to fit your audience.  
  3. The Cute, Fun, Clever, Shocking Button - Perhaps the easiest button to press on a daily basis.  There are many trends on Facebook in this area.   Some that popped up on our monitors: 
    1. Animals - Any post with a cute dog, cat or other furry friend and usually a clever poster phrase on it is ALWAYS worth a bunch of shares and likes.  You can see a few below: 
    2. Hump Day - Again for male stations, but posting a somewhat sexy girl of the day pic on Wednesday/Hump day usually draws the core rock audience out. 
    3. Funny Signs/articles etc.  This is often Leno's Headlines bit in some form and nearly always gets a decent reaction.  
    4. Star Pics- Pics of celebs with unique quotes or phrases is also a big share item.  See Keith Richards below
    5. This Is What I Do - The 6 panel pics with images of various jobs and what various people think of the job is another example of a popular trend.  It's mostly run it's course now but in Feb-April it was a fresh style of post that hit a lot of newsfeeds.  Staying on top of what is trending here is crucial - just make sure you are 'picking hits' here and not just adding everything. 

In the end I see 3 questions/observations about your posts that will help you make a lot more effective posts with the fans. 
  1. Be Authentic - Any posts that look like Hype, begging, or out of sync with the general trends within the audience will turn into junk quickly.   Knowing what your audience is into is crucial here.  
  2. Can They Join IN?  - Is this a post that will:
    1. Get them to hit Like - because it's entertaining or facinating? 
    2. Is it an opportunity for conversation and engagement? 
    3. Is it something they might share with their friends?  
  3. Be Active - If you are only going to post a couple of times a week or just have the Morning Show put out a summary of their best bits at 10a you won't crack the newsfeed for a lot of your most active fans.  Not only do you have to have enough engaging posts to crack the news feed you also have to get their attention as it's scrolling past.  
Social Media is a great marketing tool for Radio on so many levels.  We already generate tons of engaging content on-air for our audience.  While many brands struggle with Social Media because they just don't have the content or the time to really engage with the audience.  Radio brands have audience engagement built right into our foundation - it is what we are.  The keys are entertaining or engaging posts and enough of them to cut through the clutter and all the personal fun going on in Facebook or Twitter. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Overview - Facebook Radio Report Card - Last 5 Months

After reviewing the activity of our Radio Facebook Focus Group of stations over the last 5 months there are some interesting trends, realities and observations that we should all look at.  Building brands and your station with Social Media is very much a work in progress.  We are all very new at it and have a lot to learn.

  • Growth in Fans/Likes - The average station in our focus group grew 10% in fans from Mid-February to the first week in May.  If everyone can keep moving at that pace for the rest of the year the average growth would be around 25%.  
  • Older leaning stations are growing slower - While this may be expected as there are more younger users of Facebook and Social Media in General -- but the difference IS striking.  Look at Z100 and Lite 106.7 in NYC.  Both are strong ratings performers with large cumes - Z100 is around 220,000 fans while Lite is under 12,000.   Perhaps the older leaning stations have not found as many ways to engage  their audience or a way to integrate Social Media into their programming.  
  • More People are Talking about radio posts  - On average we are seeing growth in the 'People Talking About' Facebook Metric on all the stations in the focus group.  While we would need to track this on a daily basis to get a complete picture just dropping in and taking a random sample of the metric we see an average of  20-25% growth.  This is proof that we are learning to engage the audience a lot more in Social Media.  But, wouldn't you reason that with that much growth in 'talking about' that we would see more of their friends joining our likes?  If the average FB member has 250 friends and KQRS has 11,000 of their fans 'talking about' KQ's posts today that's a total/gross reach of 2.7 million.  With nearly 1/3rd of their total FB fans talking about them means their posts are really cutting through.  But, why doesn't their Fan base grow faster?  
  • More are commenting, liking and sharing the posts - While some stations have more success here we are seeing many posts from the bigger market stations in our focus group top 1K in likes and comments on some posts.  Sharing is also up, but not as much as the interaction from likes and comments.  Think about this with our 'old system' of interacting with the audience on the phone.  If we got 20 or 30 calls on anything we'd think it was 'trending.'   Here we see hundreds to thousands of responses.  
  • Time Line HAS changed the Game - When we first started tracking the stations in December 2011 Timeline was just starting to hit the personal pages and didn't really hit the Brand/Station pages till April.  The most important change we saw on our news feed and in looking at the brand pages is that posts don't last long on your brand page.  With the bigger picture, the members comments box, recent activity you end up with only 5-6 posts.  For many stations that is around a day of posts and for some even less.  While Timeline may be good for some users it's not good for Radio as we can pull together quite a bit of content -- after all our job is to engage and entertain an audience.  
  • Time Line's 'history' feature is not very effective for our brands.  In fact do we really care what any brand may have posted last month or a year ago?  Or when they joined Facebook?  We are forced to have this on our brand pages - for what? 
Next week we'll take a look at the most effective posts and what IS getting audience reaction.