Would you abandon 3.7-million people in your audience?

John Mayer - Time magazineWell, that’s exactly what John Mayer has done by deactivating his Twitter account.  Now, to be fair, his “[my] Stupid Mouth” in both interviews (i.e. Playboy) and online (i.e. Twitter-feud with Perez Hilton) have sent publicists scrambling … but, still, that’s an awful lot of people – mostly loyal fans – to leave so abruptly.  Mayer’s spokesman claims the end of his Battle Studies tour and more in-house recording are the reason.  At last count, Mayer had approximately 3.7-million following his Tweets (written by him personally, and often quite frequently).  Mayer plans to continue direct communication with fans through his blog.

Obviously, the first question you have to ask:  Is Twitter beginning to lose it’s cool, at least with the celebrity crowd?  Mayer joins Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Leeann Rimes, and Ricky Gervais in deactivating their accounts this year.  Or, perhaps like with Miley & Leeann, maybe John is finally keeping some of his personal life … personal.  He did launch a Tumblr account last week to keep his blog active in the social world (50,000 connections in his first week).  The social media strategy crowd will also start asking how to convert those Followers to his blog and speculate about how much such a big Twitter following is really worth. 

But, the point of my blog is to start a conversation about what such trends mean to our world.  So, let’s talk about it this way …

Would you have the guts to say goodbye to a 3.7-million person audience?  Or, in terms of most radio stations and personalities … could you just cancel direct communication with 37,000 listeners?  3,700?  Probably not.

In a previous blog, we looked at the potential ratings bonanza from having just 5% of your audience engaged with your Facebook pages.

The key for radio stations, air talent, even performers is engaging fans through consistently unqiue, interesting content on both Twitter & Facebook that purposefully drives eyes to your website and ears back to your product.  If you can’t make the committment to proper upkeep of both, then perhaps you might want to dump one and play to your social networking strength.  But, don’t be lazy and post the same item to both Twitter & Facebook — there’s no reason for your audience to engage you on both — unlink your accounts, stop using Ping, and be creative.

I recommend using Twitter for more “instant alerts;” example:  Tune in to win concert tickets in ten minutes (at 3:10pm), John Mayer calls to tell us why he quit Twitter at 8:30am, call me now if you still don’t belong to Facebook, etc.  Facebook is great to start conversations, solicit feedback, have listeners commenting on pictures/video, post interesting stories, and spread the word about events.  Twitter can be used for audience dialogue, but it’s more difficult to follow along as tweets get pushed further down the stream.  Facebook makes conversation easy.  It’s okay to put the whole story on Facebook or link to outside sources on Twitter; but, the real power is found by engaging listeners — giving your audience one more reason to tune-in or visit your site.

Lefsetz boils it down, as only he so elequoently can, commenting on John Mayer’s Twitter and the music business in yesterday’s Lefsetz letter by saying:  “You’ve got to not only make the music but maintain contact with your fans.  No label can tweet for John Mayer, no one can create the message and the bond … Fans create buzz, not labels.”

There’s really no right or wrong in social media yet; but, if you’re just starting to develop your social media strategy or revamping it, here’s a few suggestions:

  • Unlink your Twitter and Facebook social updates, stop using Ping.fm, post unique content to each platform.  This gives listeners a reason to follow you both places instead of getting the same post twice — you’re more likely to stand out rather than being skimmed over.  Tweetdeck & Hootsuite are great programs that make this easy from your computer and there are plenty of choices for your mobile phone.
  • Twitter – make the effort to tease at least one compelling reason to listen to your show once per hour while you’re on the air.
  • Twitter – at least twice a day, tweet something more personal from your life.  Listeners enjoy making this connection with you on a personal level.  You’ll be more real, relatable, approachable, and not always “selling something.”  Twitpic and similar services are a great way to do it.
  • Twitter – at least once a day, perhaps early evening, give your Followers a reason to go to your station site or Facebook page to interact (poll, blog, topic starter, funny story).
  • Twitter – leverage the power of exclusive content … questions for a guest just from Twitter, advance contest times, etc.
  • Twitter – remember to check your @replies and Direct Messages – answer them!
  • Facebook – hopefully, you already have a page instead of a regular profile (which is limited to 5,000 friends).  Promote it!
  • Facebook – post a new picture or video from your personal life everyday (great for self-depracating “write a caption” bits).
  • Facebook – post at least one interesting link everyday, but not too many, and encourage comments.
  • Facebook – start a poll a couple times a week, or encourage comments about the poll on your station site.
  • Facebook – seed tomorrow’s show topic the day before, email the best comments to see if you can call them on the air.
  • Facebook – another great place to ask listeners to suggest a question for your guest on tomorrow’s show.
  • Facebook – remember you can share on other people’s pages, use the @ to include friends in your updates.
  • Facebook – make sure every station event and major contest has an event listing on Facebook.  Send the event to your friends.
  • Facebook – most importantly, Facebook is about engagement and dialogue – respond to listener comments on your wall, send them birthday greetings, or comment on something you see on your live stream from a listener’s wall.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing to leverage social media for higher ratings, more revenue, and web traffic … or, tell me what you think about John Mayer quitting Twitter.  Quitter.

Call me, or leave your comments below.

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2 Responses to “Would you abandon 3.7-million people in your audience?”

  1. Addendum! I just found out my good friend @gerijarvis was one of the last people John Mayer publicly tweeted before abandoning his account. No, she’s not to blame. Check it out: http://poptweets.net/user/johncmayer/status/24194677953

    By the way, Dave & Geri should be a subject of a future blog post here. They’re very talented personalities who decided to go digital after finding themselves without a radio home in Grand Rapids. The resulting Dave & Geri On Demand is more engaging than every other “traditional” morning show in town.

    http://www.daveandgeri.com

    Look for them to be featured on http://www.scottsands.com soon!

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  1. Who owns your friends? | Sands Media LLC at ScottSands.com - October 5, 2010

    […] Would you abandon 3.7-million people in your audience? […]

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