By Vince Duffy, RTDNA Chairman
I’m not going to name any names, but there are some station Facebook pages out there that are pretty Lame. (That’s lame with a capital L on purpose.) There are some small stations with small audiences that have active and interesting Facebook pages, and there are big stations, with large audiences, whose Facebook pages have fewer friends and less activity than my Mom’s page.
The key to an active Facebook page for your station is the same as it is for your own personal page or those of your friends. If you have interesting things to say and engage people in conversation, your Facebook audience will grow and the participants will value the page. If your Facebook page is used as a marketing tool, and the only way you get “likes” is with contests, nobody is going to bother with it.
There are some pretty basic things you can do to improve the number of fans and the activity on your station’s page. Some of you will read these suggestions and say “Duh,” others of you may recognize something you’re not doing and should resolve to do in the New Year.
1. Dust off that dictionary. Sure spelling doesn’t matter on the air, but just like on your web page, you look foolish when you spell things incorrectly on your Facebook page. Facebook doesn’t have spell-check, so you may actually have to look things up. Do it…look it up. Your station loses credibility every time you spell something wrong.
2. Provide an appropriate amount of material. I found a major all-news radio station in a top 25 market whose most recent Facebook post was on December 20th. The post before that was written on November 28th. Is it any wonder they have only 131 people who “like” their page?
The flip side of this is a news station that posts a link on Facebook to every story on their website. That’s fine (I guess), but and they all show up within five minutes of each other. If I’m a fan of your page, this is just as annoying as Farmville and Mafia Wars posts, because they show up like spam on my page.
Try to post at least three or four quality items a day, and unless there is breaking news that must be announced, try not to post more than once an hour.
3. Talk to me! People use Facebook as a community. You should do more than just push your stories or tease a chance at winning a prize if people “like” your page. Use your stories to generate discussions. Ask for people’s opinions. Be a friend in the community, not a billboard.
You know those real estate professionals and website operator friends who only use their Facebook pages to promote their business and nothing else? That’s what your station page looks like if you only post links to your stories.
4. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Visuals on Facebook pop out and get noticed. If you post a link to a story on your web page, put the photo in the Facebook link as well. Post pictures from station events, behind the scenes, of your talent, or your community.
5. Participate in the conversation. Your Facebook fans will ask questions on your page. Some of them will be intelligent and some will be annoying. Make an effort to answer any questions and respond to comments within 24 hours. If you ignore the people who “like” your page, they will soon ignore you.
Simple stuff really, but it’s amazing how many stations don’t do it.