Self-absorbed In 140 Characters Or Less: Is It About You, Or Your Listener?

Twitter, Facebook and various other social media channels afford radio broadcasters more opportunities to communicate with listeners, while serving them more directly, more often, and more personally than ever before.

However, based on the “it’s all about me” perspective of much of the content in recent radio station Tweets and Facebook posts, it appears that there is a still a long way to go before stations maximize the value and impact of their social media efforts to deepen relationships, build mindshare, and ultimately, win ratings.

A recent 1-hour sample of AC radio stations’ tweets compiled by’s Sean Ross begs the question: who is this about, anyway? During this 1-hour snapshot, Ross logged a total of 37 Tweets from a variety of mostly AC stations in Top 20 markets. Many of the Tweets appeared to be simple ads or promos for the stations or their clients. Some pitched tune-ins; some were intended to drive website traffic. Most were just Twitter versions of a broadcast message. Very few appeared to be directed at a follower’s passion points and only one or two were written in a socially engaging, one-to-one style that seemed at all personal.

In an effort to quickly categorize the Tweets as personal or promotional, the graph below shows the percentage of tweets that included usage of the words “you” and “your” indicating that they are engaging with the audience versus those that contained the names of others (personalities, station names, and website names, for example) that appear to be station-centric.

  • Tweets that contain others’ names in the message with no reference to “you” or “your”: 35 (95%)
  • Tweets that contain “you” or “your” in the message: 9 (24%)
  • Tweets that contain “you” or “your” plus others’ names in the message: 7 (19%)
  • Tweets that contain “you or “your” and no others’ names in the message: 2 (5%)

    Who appears to be most important here?

Based on this survey, 95% of the Tweets were written in a station-centric manner, thus limiting audience engagement.

Think about your own experiences with people, how do you respond to someone whose regular message is “hey, let me tell you all about me,” do you start trying to avoid them? It’s no different with social media. You might still be their favorite station, but you’ll miss the opportunity to deepen the relationship and drive more occasions of listening.

Many would agree that there is an implicit understanding among those who mutually connect via social media that such a relationship is a two-way street. I follow you and share my experiences, ideas and feelings with you because I care about what you have to offer. What you offer back in this relationship is something that should further enhance my appreciation of you, based on the extent to which you connect with my points of passion, concerns, and needs.

While winning concert tickets and hearing about what happened on American Idol might be of interest to me, a message that feels more personal, engages me interactively and is relevant to my needs and concerns (“How did you take advantage of the great weather this weekend?”) will do way more to build our two-way relationship than any generic call to action.

Learning more about your listeners and what they care about, while engaging them in a personal way will maximize your efforts in social media and beyond. Call or e-mail us for strategic ways to leverage your social media efforts to build mindshare and ratings for your station.

–Fletcher Keyes*

*Fletcher Keyes is a long-time morning show personality, radio programmer and new contributor to dmr’s The End Result.


One Response to Self-absorbed In 140 Characters Or Less: Is It About You, Or Your Listener?

  1. Jason says:

    Great article. Radio stations notoriously fail to take advantage of opportunities to engage their listeners. The best station I see doing it is WBEB in Philly. They do it right on Facebook –

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