Effective Social Media Engagement – The Radio Show Experiment

So everywhere you go people are talking about Social Media, if you don’t have a Twitter account you aren’t in the Game. Social Media driven by Gen Y (and younger Gen Xers) is now so mainstream that traditional Media companies like Radio, are having to embrace it. A lot of them are using their scale and reach to encourage tens of thousands of “Fans” to their Facebook page, but are doing very little else to engage them. If like me you believe that Social Communication is all about listening and being interactive then I have a feeling you’ll be disappointed in most of the Radio Shows out there; apart from one.                                                                                                                                                   

The Ian Collins Late show is a Radio show on TalkSport which airs Monday to Friday from 10pm till 1am; so not a peak radio slot like Breakfast or Drive time. However what makes TalkSport different from a lot of stations is that they are focused heavily on interaction with their audience. TalkSport make money from Advertisers and Callers to their shows, so Social Media could be seen as a threat to that business. However the Ian Collins Late Show, a news based show, has seen through this threat to create a new channel to communicate with the listeners. The Facebook Page drives topics to be discussed on the show that evening, comments left on them gaging the public feeling. On Twitter Ian drives effectively recruits new followers by sharing pictures and videos of Guests and topics live on the Radio which make the audience feel like they are in a virtual pub. I’ve often had to jump out of bed to turn my smartphone on to see what has been posted. The Upside of this approach is that it seems to be driving more intelligent people to call in to comment, which in turn then makes a better opportunity for Advertisers. The driving force of this Social approach is definitely Ian himself who is a self-confessed Apple Fan boy. Despite this he comes across as a really well balanced guy who loves engaging with people. One look at his Twitter activity clearly shows how much time he spends replying to the mountain of tweets he gets.  Social Media is about interaction, the clue is in the title. Those that do get a richer experience.

 (Illustration by Hugh MacLeod)