Radio and Social Media

Monday, Radio Business Report ran an article on Media Mixing - social media and radio. It is a well thought-out analysis of how radio stations should approach the combinations of social media (like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and so on) and their "brand."

The author, Marivic Valencia, has a Twitter feed at I added her to my friends list; she quickly returned the favor. We exchanged a few tweets about her article. My questions were about how a station might use its RDS "Now Playing" feed as a Twitter feed as a way to serve the audience through Twitter.

Then, today, I read a post on the site Social Media Influencers about a research study that says that corporate blogs are among the least trusted types of blogs out there. The study, from Forrester Research, says:
"...people do not trust corporate blogs –which rank below newpapers, portals, wikis, direct mail, company email and message board posts in the trustworthiness stakes."

There's a great graphic that illustrates the problem - showing that email from people we know is the most trusted source of information with a score of 77%; magazines, Radio and TV are all clustered around a 39% (Radio, magazines) and 38% (TV) score. "Social networking profiles from a company or brand" and "company blogs" rank dead last, trusted by only 18% and 16% of respondents, respectively.

So - where does this put the social networking efforts of radio stations? The answer is obvious - they need to be "real" and not a confection of the promotions department. A feed of the "Now Playing" information can be a good thing - it's real - and should be experimented with. But this should be augmented with personal posts by the talent at the station - making the feed useful beyond knowing what is on the air right now. Also - it would be good for the station to follow their followers; you'll get some great insight into what's going on with your P1s - because that's obviously who your followers are.

Bottom line - because of Radio's personal and local nature, a radio station's social networking efforts will reap great rewards for both the station and the listener. But keep in mind that if you aren't honest and forthright with your social networking, you'll end up at the bottom of Forrester's next study.