Radio stations often think about using social media as a tool to reach listeners, but it's also a great way to reach other leaders in your market who can in turn reach your listeners. We call these people “influencers” — the folks who have a large following of their own that overlaps with your station's fanbase. They can help your radio station amplify its message and reach more people.
I've written about engaging with influencers before, especially as part of the launch of a new radio morning show. But I want to take a closer look at how you can use Twitter in particular to engage with these leaders in your community. While Facebook is a fantastic tool for engaging with your station's audience at large, I find Twitter to be more effective with influencers.
Here's a step-by-step process for doing so:
1. Identify key topics areas for your radio station.
Make a list of all the subjects that your listeners are interested in. This will vary based on your target demographic — Alternative music fans might like craft beer while Hot AC listeners may care about parenting — but here are some possibilities to jumpstart your thinking:
- Science Fiction
- Video Games
2. Brainstorm a list of related influencers in your market.
Now that you've got a list of hot topics, it's time to make a list of the people and organizations in your market who have a following related to those topics. Are there local automotive bloggers, parenting magazines, or restaurant associations? Here's another list of possibilities to get you thinking:
- Colleges and universities
- Concert venues
- Festivals and events
- Magazines and newspapers
- Reporters and columnists
- Television personalities
- Theaters and performing art spaces
- Trade organizations
3. Start a shared spreadsheet.
Okay, let's get organized. Enter this list into a spreadsheet — preferably a shared file such as a GoogleDoc so that multiple staff members can access it. Add columns for all of the information you want to collect about these influencers, including:
- Category (I like to quickly sort my influencer by the topic areas from step one, such as ‘Food' or ‘Music' or ‘Sports.')
- Website URL
- First Name
- Last Name
- Job Title
- Email Address
- City (in case you want to target influencers by geography)
- Contact Page URL (some websites ask you to fill out a contact form instead of providing an email address)
- Facebook Page URL
- Twitter URL
- Instagram URL
- YouTube Channel URL
You may want to install an extension for your web browser that allows you to quickly open multiple links. For example, I use the Bulk URL Opener extension on my Chrome browser. When I want to open the Twitter page of every ‘Sports' influencer on my list, I sort it by category, select and copy the Twitter URLs, click the Bulk URL Opener button, and paste the URLs in. Boom! I have each influencer's Twitter page open in a different browser tab.
4. Divide your influencers into Twitter lists.
Create a Twitter list for each category of influencers. To do this, first follow the influencer by clicking the ‘Follow' button. Then, click the three small dots next to the ‘Follow' button and select “Add or remove from lists” from the dropdown menu. You can add the influencer to an existing Twitter list or create a new one.
5. Follow these lists in a social media management app.
I use Hootsuite to manage my social media. I create a tab for “Twitter Lists” and on that tab, I create a stream (column) for each of my lists. This allows me to quickly and easily scan the stream and see what all of my influencers are tweeting about.
For example, I am launching a new podcast about Detroit this fall. To get ready for that, I am following Detroit influencers on Twitter and dividing them into lists. Here is what those Twitter lists look like in Hootsuite:
6. Retweet the best tweets from these influencers.
On a daily basis, spend a few minutes perusing the lists in your social media management app. Look for the best tweets from your influencers and retweet them. These influencers will notice that you shared their tweets, and it will build goodwill with them.
The advantage of dividing your influencers into lists by category is that this allows you to make sure that you are tweeting about the right topics in the right ratios. You don't want to go overboard on ‘Science Fiction,' or ignore ‘Sports.' Having the lists in different columns can help you avoid these issues.
7. Use #FollowFriday to give your influencers a shoutout.
Follow Friday is a popular meme on Twitter. Every Friday, Twitter users show appreciation for other Twitter users by listing them in a tweet with the hashtag ‘#FollowFriday' or ‘#FF.' It's a nice way to give a shoutout to others. Acknowledge your influencers with this hashtag and they'll appreciate it.
8. Share your influencers' content and tag them in the tweets.
If your influencers create content, such as columns, blogposts, videos, or podcast episodes, share a link to that content over Twitter. Be sure to tag the influencer in your tweet by including their Twitter handle so they notice.
At Jacobs Media, I frequently share posts from Alan Cross' wonderful blog, A Journal of Musical Things! When I do, I always include ‘@alancross‘ in the tweet because I want him to know that we're giving him some love.
9. Share your radio station's content and tag the relevant influencers in the tweets.
When sharing your radio station's website content on Twitter, include the Twitter handle of the appropriate influencers in the tweet. Be careful not to tag influencers who aren't relevant. When sharing your blogpost about last night's Cage the Elephant show, you should tag the concert venue but not the quarterback of the college football team. Hopefully, they will retweet the station, passing your content along to their followers and increasing your website traffic.
When it comes to social media, don't think of it as just a way to reach listeners. It's also a great tool for connecting with other leaders in the community — especially on Twitter.
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