Traditional vs. New Media… Radio Won’t Die!

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Photo: www.bloggingexperiment.com

I started writing this blog back in June, initially intending for it to be my first blog in this course. But, it’s been sitting in draft form, waiting for me to organize my thoughts. Well, with the help of a peer’s recent blog (“Launch Your Podcast Today” by JOHNH), I’ve come full circle, so here I go!

For the past eight years, I have been building a career for myself in one of the most traditional forms of media: radio. However, discussions around the boardroom table are no longer focused on music charts, what concert tickets we’re giving away, or where the next live on location broadcast is happening. One of the hottest agenda items up for discussion in today’s radio environment is social and new media. And not just “let’s post funny stuff and see how many likes we get” social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – pick your poison – have all become an integral part of our business.

JOHNH suggested a number of reasons podcasts are becoming more popular and while I’m not one to listen to them, I completely agree and can appreciate why many people choose podcasts over radio. However, traditional media is continuously looking for opportunities to integrate with these new tools and radio is an example of how social media and new technology can be used to our advantage and not result in radio dying a slow death (which is currently happening to print newspapers).

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Photo: i-am-bored.com

5 Reasons Radio Won’t Die

  1. It’s mobile. From individual radio apps to broadcasting apps such as TuneIn and even the ability to listen live through Facebook, you can typically take your local radio station anywhere you have cell signal. And, if you aren’t a fan of your local station, you can listen to radio stations around the world if you choose. Mobile is dominating… in 2013, 83% of Canadian households had at least one active cell phone (CWTA.ca). And, those cell phones, can become handheld radio devices.
  2. The latest in-car technology is keeping AM/FM radio as an option. Infotainment systems will soon be available in all car makes and models. While they allow drivers to sync up their mp3 players, phones, satellite radio and so on, studies show that drivers want to keep the AM/FM radio option, primarily for news and traffic updates, to listen to their favourite personalities and for local content. Radio listeners have an average of 6-7 stations they listen to. Don’t like what that one is playing? You’re likely to hit #2 or 3 on your radio preset… there’s a variety of programming to listen to.
  3. Fewer annoying ads. In the not so distant future, technology will allow terrestrial radio broadcasters to strategically air specific commercials for a specific audience. For example, if a beer company wants to target males aged 25-54 for their new product, radio stations will be able to play the commercials for that specific group of listeners (likely through the use of radio apps and infotainment systems). This will allow advertisers to be more targeted and radio broadcasters to play ads that are more appealing to the audience as opposed to “broad casting”. Radio can also offer integrated marketing solutions for advertisers, meaning clients can buy radio commercials, have web ads on radio websites, can give away their product in radio contests, and so on.
  4. Terrestrial radio is adapting. Podcast listeners enjoy the ability to access content when they want it. The ease of downloading an episode can be addicting (just as Netflix leads to binge watching). Radio companies will eventually shift away from morning shows being 6:00am-10:00am, afternoon drive being 2:00pm-7:00pm, and so on. Announcers who are “content stars” and who are loved by the audience will get more air time and may not have a set shift. Then, their content will be available for download from the radio station’s app, website or iTunes. The latter is already happening in some markets (example: 102.1 The Edge – “Kustom Kulture Radio”).
  5. In markets of all sizes, terrestrial radio thrives on the same thing… being local! Sure, you can look at your weather app to see what it’s like outside and you can follow major news sources on Twitter for breaking headlines. But, if there’s a community event happening in your neighbourhood, if there’s been a string of break ins near by, or if it’s a snow day in your school district, you won’t get that information on a large TV network. Listen to your local radio station or head over to their Facebook page and they will likely be talking about the latest happenings in your community.

Terrestrial radio is traditional in the sense that we still use a transmitter tower to reach the masses. But, now with new technologies and social media at our fingertips, radio is shifting from a one way conversation to a fully integrated listener experience.

Do you still listen to your local radio station, despite the surge in podcasts, YouTube, etc.? Do you follow any radio stations on Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms?

I am so proud to have taken this course and have appreciated all of your comments and enjoyed your blogs! Keep it up! 🙂

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Social Media Gaming and Why We’re Addicted

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There’s a 50% chance that if you’re a social media user, you play social media games. Whether it’s role playing (ie: FarmVille), casino or arcade (ie: Candy Crush Saga), or hidden objects (ie: Gardens of Time), approximately half of the internet’s population – 510 million people – play social games. And I’m one of them!

Why do we love social media games?

  1. Our Competitive Nature
    Just like in a soccer match or a card game around the kitchen table… it’s human nature to want to win. So, when everyone in your office is talking about finally beating level 65 on Candy Crush Saga, you may feel inclined to outdo them.
  2. Stress Relief / Relaxation
    The non-gamers of the world wide web see no point in virtual farming, but social gamers tend to find these games relaxing. It may not be a real farm or castle… but drifting off to a fantasy land on your lunch hour can be the mental break you need.
  3. Mental Stimulation
    Although it’s an escape from reality, there is still strategy involved and thought required. The need to complete missions and to level up force you to strategize and think about how you’ll reach goals in the game.
  4. It’s An Addiction
    Some games have become an addiction for users. Candy Crush Saga is the greatest example of this. In 2013, 1 in every 23 Facebook users played Candy Crush. Having to wait for “lives”, always having a “next level”, and the fact that it’s a free game (with optional in-game purchases) all attribute to the obsession. If you’re addicted to this one in particular, read Time’s “Candy Crush: The Science Behind Our Addiction” for more insight.
  5. Fun!
    Plain and simple – games are fun. No matter what age you are or what interests you, chances are there’s a social game out there that you would deem “fun”. Want to find one you’d like? Check out the Best Facebook Games, according to Digital Trends.

Since 2010, the number of social gamers has increased by over 70%, so no need to be embarrassed – you’re not alone! Game developers and advertisers are thrilled with this spike in users. The US social gaming market will be a $5 billion industry by 2015.

Social Gaming Industry â�� Statistics & TrendsAs I admitted in the beginning, I’m a social gamer – an avid one at that. No, I don’t spam my friends with game requests (I’m good at managing my Facebook settings). Role playing games are my forte and I confess – I’ve spent entire weekends building virtual villages. My favourites right now are Village Life, CastleVille and most recently, Here Be Monsters. OK – enough about me…

CONFESSION TIME: Are you a social media gamer? If yes, what game(s) do you play and how often? If no, does it drive you CRAZY when friends send you game requests?

Sources:

3 Reasons Contests on Social Media Are Awesome!.. + 3 Reasons I Hate Them.

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I am the Promotions Director for two radio stations in Cornwall, ON. My job revolves around developing and executing AMAZING contests and promotions. However, in the past year or so, the contest playing field has drastically changed. Gone are the days of “be the 10th caller through”. Even simple “enter online at our website” contests are showing a decline in entries. Why? Because today, people prefer entering on Facebook!

Earlier today, I ran a Facebook contest that resulted in the most comments of any posts EVER on our Facebook page (over 9,500 comments on one post), over 200 new “likes” to our page, and a post reach of over 14,000 people. This is by far the most engagement any of our contests has ever seen and it was all within 12 hours on Facebook. Sounds great, right?! Well… it can be… but, as the person who has to manage them, it can also be a nightmare.

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3 Reasons Contests on Social Media Are Awesome

  1. Non-Contest Players Are More Likely to Play
    When it comes to radio specifically, only 2-5% of your listening audience will actually participate in a contest. The number is so low, I sometimes wonder why Promotions Departments actually exist. Ok, I do know why they exist. Our goal is to not only build contests for our contest playing listeners, but to also execute them in a way that everyone can play along (even if they won’t actually call in to win). How does social media help? A LOT more people play. Why? Because it’s easy. There are minimal steps (ie: just “like” to be in the draw) and because it’s easy to share, word gets around a lot quicker that there’s some great give away happening!
  2. They Are Easy to Execute
    A quick graphic (like the one above) and away you go! Post it and let the fun begin. If the prize is appealing (doesn’t always have to be concert tickets… but something that fits your business and is desirable to your followers), the post will just grow organically which is great for your brand.
  3. They Are Exciting
    The contest we ran today had over 9,500 comments (which equals 9,500 entries). The last 5,000 comments came in between 8:45pm and 9:00pm, when the contest closed. I can assure you, our staff who are admins on that Facebook page probably hate me right now – all of our devices have been lighting up with notifications! But, the good news is that we have several new people on our page and now we have the opportunity to hook them!

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3 Reasons Why I Hate Contests on Social Media

  1. They Can Be Tricky to Manage
    You have to be very careful to ensure your contest complies with the rules set out by each individual social media platform. For example, in a contest on Facebook, you can’t ask people to “share this post” for the chance to win. However, they can “like” or “comment” to enter. Also, when you get thousands of comments, it can take hours to sort through and either enter them in to a random draw or decipher who the winner actually is.
  2. They Can Cause Confusion Which Equals Angry People
    One thing I highly recommend… make sure your social media contests are laid our perfectly clear. Identify age restrictions, entry restrictions, and you are required to have your own set of Rules & Regulations. If you don’t clearly layout the guidelines, and trust me – I’ve made this mistake, you’ll be bombarded with questions and people disagreeing with how a winner was selected. This isn’t fun and can also result in negative comments around your brand being posted all over social media… not good!
  3. There’s More Room for Error / You Have No Control
    In my experience, most people don’t thoroughly read Rules & Regs when they enter contests. While there are some days I’d like to say “not my problem – you don’t win”, the reality is that you really have to guide people through and be empathetic. When someone sees an exciting contest on Facebook – they quickly enter and move on with their day and you simply can’t control it. That’s when you end up with a 13-year-old winner although the Rules say you must be 18 and publicly, I have to state that there was a mistake and we must pick another winner… (can you sense that this may have happened today?!?!).

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Now, although I have 3 reasons to “hate” contests on social media, I have to say they have proven to be very successful for us in radio land (200 new likes in 12 hours – wahoo!) … it just requires a little patience and a whole lot of trial and error.

Have you ever entered / would you ever enter a contest on Facebook (or other social media sites)? Do you think social media contests are beneficial for businesses trying to increase audience?

5 Reasons We Love Lists

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These are actual headlines you can find on BuzzFeed right now! Yep, that’s a whole lotta belly button lint!

You may read these titles and think they’re silly and probably a waste of time. But, something in your brain makes you want to click! Why?!

A couple of months ago, I attended a radio / digital media summit at Canadian Music Week and was fortunate to hear panelist Keith Hernandez, VP International Sales at BuzzFeed USA. I was absolutely captivated by his every word! Being someone who has worked for The Onion, Microsoft, VEVO and other notable companies, you can bet his experience is worth learning from.

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How does this relate to lists? Well, because BuzzFeed is a hugely successful social media monster that publishes close to 400 posts a day, primarily in list or quiz format. So, without further ado…

5 Reasons We Love Lists

  1. They’re Easy to Read
    You can skim an entire article (or “listicle”) and get the key points without actually reading every sentence. You can also pick and choose which of the “points” you want to read entirely and unlike an article written in paragraph form, if you skip a point – you won’t miss critical information.
  2. They’re Easy to Write
    While some would argue lists are the lazy way out and aren’t “real journalism”, this short concise format allows the author to bring readers immediately to the message they wish to convey (just get to the good stuff already!). Why spend hours writing an article when you can get your point across in a list of “10 Things You Should Know”?!
  3. They’re Sharable on Social
    In today’s world of limited characters and limited attention spans, it’s easy to share a list. The content is easily consumed and therefore, more enjoyable to a reader and their followers.
  4. Lists Are Popular Everywhere, Not Just Online
    Grocery lists, To Do lists, Guest lists… our brains are comfortable grouping things together and we do so in list form. So, naturally, when a company like BuzzFeed pumps out hundreds of lists online, we’re inclined to read them. Note: BuzzFeed actually posts really useful lists too, ie: 7 Quick Dinners To Make This Week. They’re not all about robots!
  5. Lists Don’t Lie
    “5 Things You Need to Know” means 5 things, not 7 or 10. The reader knows what they’re getting in to when they open the article. It is a proven fact that numbers and specifics in headlines will provide better results than something generic like “Best Ways to Make a Sandwich”. Why? Being specific and exact implies expertise.

Have you read or shared any lists lately? Please share below! The more ridiculous, the better! 😉

Sources:
Heinz Marketing – “10 Reasons Why Top 10 Lists Make Great Content” (2012)
Business Insider – “10 Reasons We Love Lists” (2013)
Wikipedia – “BuzzFeed” (2014)

 

Social Media: Don’t Be a Target While You’re on Vacation

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You’ve been planning this trip for months, saving every dollar, going to the gym at least three times a week… but the time has finally come and you’re ready to hit the beach! You’re overwhelmed with the excitement of escaping the office and getting away with your significant other. The plane is now boarding and by dinner time, you’ll have a rum beverage in hand and your toes in the sand. Your first instinct upon arrival is to take a picture of paradise and post it on Facebook for all of your jealous friends and co-workers to see. But, if you’re not careful, you may be in for a rude awakening when you get home.

In January of this year, I went on a trip just like the one described above. It was actually a work trip to The Bahamas (I know, tough gig right?!) and both my partner and I were sent on a beautiful week away in the dead of winter. Upon arrival, I was eager to post a ton of photos to Facebook but my very cautious spouse encouraged me to hold off. Her reasoning seemed a little overprotective at the time – “let’s not tell the world that our house is empty for the next week”. Hmm… good call.

If you haven’t already, consider watching “The Bling Ring” – a movie based on a group of teenagers who used the web to find out where celebrities live and where those celebrities were at any given time. Not home? Perfect time for a little break and enter! Not to say I’m a celebrity and that I have rooms full of luxurious items to be stolen, but the idea of strangers coming in to my home and taking my personal belongings – what a terrible feeling.

Now, I’m not trying to be a downer on your upcoming getaway. But, I do suggest you avoid being like these people (ahem… these people are my friends who just left for vacation this morning). Perhaps I should have written this earlier…

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Think I’m overreacting? A survey of former burglars revealed that over 75% of those surveyed believe that thieves are using social media to determine easy targets*. To help you avoid becoming one of those targets, here are a few tips!

Do’s and Don’t of Posting to Facebook While on Vacation

  • hold off on posting about your vacation until you’ve returned
  • don’t tag people you are travelling with until everyone has returned (you could tip off people following them on social media)
  • don’t assume your privacy settings are fool-proof and only friends will see your posts
  • don’t pre-post (ie: leaving for vacation tomorrow, back in a week!)
  • if you really need to share pictures with people back home, consider using email instead of publicly posting on social media

Source: About.com Internet / Network Security – “What Not to Post on Facebook While You’re on Vacation”
Source*: SafeWise – “Update Your Status to Safe: Don’t Become a Target Because of Social Media”

Do you play it safe while you’re away? Could you resist posting your pics until you’re home or do you hope for the best and rely on privacy settings?

Social Media: Go on, tell us how you really feel!

After watching the United Breaks Guitars video, I had to laugh. Not because almost anything can be turned in to a Country song, but because I can proudly say I’m guilty of doing something similar (using social media to give “feedback” – not breaking someone’s guitar). I’ve had a few very poor customer service experiences and although I typically keep my complaints to myself, I felt inclined to publicly complain to the world – or in this case, the Twitterverse. And guess what… it worked!

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Social media has become the new “tell us how we’re doing” card. In the above example, I was quite pleased with the technical support I received shortly after my Tweet. I should also mention that I had tried calling the support line and even went to the store where I had bought my phone but was told there was nothing they could do. Twitter was my last resort – perhaps it should have been my first.

My point is that consumers should not be afraid to use social media to their advantage. Did you just receive terrible customer service while buying that new pair of jeans? Was the teen working at the cash register at the grocery store too busy texting to give you the receipt? In my opinion, if that business has made themselves accessible on social media – customers have the right to reach out to them!

Do I dream of a news feed full of negativity and comments bashing the local buffet restaurant? Absolutely not. In fact, on the flip side, I feel strongly about tagging businesses in positive comments as well!

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As customers and consumers, we have the right to share our feedback, rave about great experiences or rant about the not so pleasant ones. Right?!