When Lori Lewis came to work for Jacobs Media way back in 2011, she introduced many of us to a new word in the social media lexicon:
Of course, we all know the traditional meaning of the term. Acknowledgment relates to paying attention to someone or something. In olden times, it was a simple nod or a tip of the cap. But in social media jargon, it has a taken on an even more impactful meaning.
Lori intuited that radio personalities as a group are admired, respected, and even loved. A “nod” on social media is tantamount to a digital autograph, a high-five, or a hug. And from the get-go, consumers have treasured those moments when a celebrity acknowledges their presence on Facebook, Twitter, and on other sites.
The bet was that acknowledgment could help a personality – and her radio station – shine in an even brighter light. And in a subsequent Techsurvey, we put Lori's theory to the test – asking flat-out whether social acknowledgment translates to the holiest grail of them all – more listening.
We wrote this agree/disagree statement:
“I find myself listening more to stations that interact with me socially.”
And here's how it shook out this year in Techsurvey 2018:
Nearly four in ten respondents say they listen more to stations that acknowledge them socially – a steadily increasing gauge of that interactivity on Facebook, Twitter, and other social is much more than just a nice thing to do. Women respond more to acknowledgment than men. And the generational trajectory is stunning. Note also that members of ethnic minorities also profile higher – perhaps not a surprise given the climate in the country right now.
And in fact, you have to wonder if all that anger and frustration consumers increasingly are feeling boomerang into an even greater appreciation of a simple, gracious acknowledgment. Whatever the reason or motivation, a positive interaction from a respected person is becoming more and more important in the world of radio listening.
That matters when you think about the lengths stations go in order to maximize time spent listening – contests, marketing, research, and well-compensated personnel – all justifiable expenses in the quest for higher ratings. But social media interactivity is an avenue that leads to higher listenership, adding no direct costs to radio stations, whether in big or small markets.
The even better news is that radio air personalities – by and large – innately understand the value of personal interaction with fans. In our new AQ study conducted among more than 1,100 on-air hosts, DJs, and producers, the skills talent deems to be most important to their own success all revolve around social media and public-facing interaction.
But what constitutes acknowledgment? Is it the most basic gesture of them all – a simple, one-click “like?” Or is it something more meaningful – a comment, a retweet, a shout-out, or even a thank-you?
The thumbs-up is still technically an indicator of recognition, and of course, it has value. But it is also the most effortless – or lazy – way of letting a fan know they actually exist. The simple “like” – once the standard of approval on sites like Facebook – is no more than table stakes.
In today's evolving social media world, there are more meaningful and memorable ways to let fans know you care. It takes a bit more work, effort, and even creativity. But it also has the ability to resonate and make indelibly positive impressions.
All this came to mind the other day when I bumped into the video below while perusing my social sphere. It's a video of a Charlotte, NC, elementary school teacher, Barry White, Jr., who greets his students with their own signature handshakes.
There are other examples of teachers who go through similar rituals with their kids. Yes, you may view this as just another cliche, disposable social meme that's been around more than a year.
But it's emblematic of the bonds we can make when we personally acknowledge each individual's unique character – whether it's online, in schools, at work, or in life. Or on the radio.
Social media, for all its pitfalls and warts, also serves as a reminder to all of us about how meaningful human interaction can make someone's day – and in the case of your radio station, make a fan for life.
Let's shake on that.
Our free webinar – revealing the highlights of AQ, radio's first “talent on talent” research study – is one week from today. Registration info is here.
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