During the past 12 months, I’ve joined Lori Lewis on a new kind of world tour, visiting radio stations, clusters, and companies – helping them unravel their digital mysteries. We’ve had some frank conversations about social strategies, and we’ve led numerous brainstorm and staff sessions in an effort to bring clarity to station efforts.
We came up with the phrase “Random acts of digital” (or “social”) to describe what often occurs at the station level. There are so many distractions, time and people pressures, and bright shiny objects that it’s often difficult to know in which direction to go.
It also has become clear that broadcasters often don’t have a set of goals in the social space. I’m not talking about the number of “friends” or “followers” they’ve amassed. The real question revolves around what brands are hoping to accomplish in the social space.
Some want to simply aggregate more fans (like building the database or cume), some want to monetize social media, some want to use it to promote what’s on the air, and thankfully, some want to use it to build relationships and fan engagement.
To this last point, a question often comes up about metrics. We have so many numbers in our lives that allegedly measure performance. Ratings, revenue, and their rankings versus the competition that we often get hung up on needing numerical evidence that “it’s working.”
Many broadcasters forget what they’ve learned as people in the social space (at least those of them who have personally ventured out into the Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter universe), and instead try to support success with numbers.
It wasn’t long ago that Seth Godin put it so well, and I wanted to repeat his prescient comment because it rings so true:
I realize that it is difficult for bottom line-oriented achievers to simply take the leap of faith that leads you to believe that somehow your efforts in social are working. But if you think about the relationships that you’ve had – or have – in your life, they weren’t quantified. They probably just happened over time.
It’s the same with your relationships with products and brands. You probably didn’t just fall head over heels in love with Apple the first time you bought one of their products. Or even that Audi. Or that new restaurant that opened up downtown.
But over time with multiplied experiences, certain brands draw on the ability to build and maintain relationships with you. Sure, there are measures like “Net Promoter” which we have extensively used in our station survey work. But even a recommendation score is no guarantee that consumers are actually evangelizing for your brand.
It is often difficult for managers to let go of the control they have enjoyed throughout their careers, and trust in relationship-building with their audiences and advertisers. You may not be able to put numbers to your engagement, but I would suggest that having strong, vital relationships is something that you can’t quantify anyway.
It’s not the number of friends you have. It’s the quality of the relationships you build, share, and enjoy.
In real life and on Facebook.
For information about how Lori Lewis can help your station, company, or brand manage its social media “footprint,” contact Paul@JacobsMedia.com