Friday, May 14, 2010

Building a Social Media Army

ar·my : noun
-a body of persons organized to advance a cause

Building a Social Media Army
When I decided to write this post I actually Google’d how to start an Army and was a little scared of what I found. In America forming your own militia is a constitutional right (2nd amendment) and is protected by Federal law. Treason, however, is illegal. I found that the main characteristics of starting an Army/Militia is to get them vetted, trained, paid and readied for action!

Loyal listeners not only ‘pledge allegiance’ by putting your bumper stickers on their car, wearing your shirts and hats, they carry your message and help grow your brand wherever then go. Having an army of loyalists helps grow your influence over the products, services and activities they chose. Having a strong Social Media Optimization plan supersizes that influence and carries to the people that your influencees influence.

We all want loyalists, but here’s the harsh truth: Loyalty is difficult to achieve! Many stations try to build it with clever marketing campaigns and promotions. The reality is that one-hit-marketing-wonders or a few concert tickets will create short term relationships. Superficial efforts don’t dig deep enough into their minds to make a difference!

So how do you build a Social Media Army?

1.) Define Your Cause
For Radio stations I suggest you take a minute and really define what you are building. You probably have strategists, consultants and managers that will help you define your Marketing Goals. Your Social Media goals should mirror, but they are different. I have yet to meet a client that doesn’t say, I need to be on (whatever platform) and when I say, “why or what are your goals?” They look at me kinda funny. It has to be clear in your mind what you are doing, that is how the mystery of Social Media is squashed. In addition, determining goals will help you manage your expectations of Social Media.
Here are the most prevalent goals I hear:
-Increased Brand Awareness
-Reputation Management
-Improved Search Engine Optimization
-Increased Relevant Visitor Traffic
-Improve Sales for a Product or Service
-Gain personal connections (*hint* this should be everyone’s goal!)
Written Goals = Success. Determine key metrics BEFORE you get started. Pick three solid metrics to track: Web or Blog Traffic, SEO Ranking, Amount of Targeted Followers in certain time are common.

2.) Know Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach. Pinpoint the characteristics of the perfect listener as it relates to your format. Understand how your target audience uses Social Media (gender, age, geography, etc.)
-Listen and then listen more.
-Ask yourself the following questions when you are designing Social Media Optimization Campaigns: What’s your point? What type of program is this? What is your purpose? Awareness, Sales, Loyalty? What’s your relationship with audience? What does your audience know about you today? When and where is your audience using Social Media?
-Who are you to this audience?
-Elevator pitch is dead-how do you describe who you are or what you do in 120 characters or less?

3.) Know Your Battle Field
Before you begin, worry about social media tools last, not first - tools will change (remember AOL? Yahoo? MySpace) Listen to the conversations people are having about you and your brand. The easiest way to do this is to Google yourself or I love the Twitter Search Tool.
-Set the foundation of transparency that takes your cause across all social mediums.
-Get them emotional about your brand.
-Connect with them.
-YOU are NOT that important. FOLLOW people back and respond to them when they talk to you.
How do I know most of you are NOT doing this? I have dozens of accounts I manage and know many people who reached out to MANY o’radio stations without being acknowledged whatsoever. This is a shame and a spoiled chance to take someone from being engaged to being invested with your brand. I run a few celebrity/artist Twitter accounts and never get tired of hearing a fan we follow back spread the word and brag to their Followers that so and so is following them. It is a really powerful under used tool of Social Media by Radio and Artists but dang does it sure work!
-Create personality behind the story. Show them you are more than a logo or a photo. Help them find common ground that lets them relate to you. ie your Morning show DJ is a Dog person so help him connect to your Dog Lover listeners on Social Media. It only takes a few posts and tweets to identify these people.
-Content is King! Without the value to the audience, you will get the inevitable "so what?“
-ALWAYS make account open to public-It’s ‘Social Networking,’ Not ‘Anti-Social Networking’!
-Speak WITH people not AT them, Social Media is a dialogue not a monologue!
-Forget ‘What am I doing?’ and ask your followers, ‘what are they doing?’

4.) Promote Your Cause
Cross Promote Social Media Networks: tweet to followers to join your Facebook Fan Page, Post your Twitter Account to Facebook Account. Make sure that you Social Media Logos are clear and visable on your website.
-Add to Business cards, letterhead, vehicle wrap, other Broadcast and Print Media.
-Consistently talk about your participation.
-Provide listener services through Social Media as long as you can follow up.
-Run Social Media-only promotional offers and place a deadline on it and be sure to track results.
-Invite followers to your events. Include links to where they can register.
-Let followers know where you’re going to be and invite them to join.
-Make bumper stickers that say “Follow Me” with your Social Media branding.
-Put "Follow Me" on the back of your T-Shirts.
-Create a Ning network for your listeners to engage your brand, advertisers and each other!
-Use #Hashtags and custom shortened URLS when orchestrating contests.

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all. Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.
-George Washington

With over 20 years of experience television, radio, Internet and print sales, as well as being an on-air personality, Jessica Northey is known for the ability to create complete marketing campaigns and bridge marketing partnership.
Jessica is the Associate Editor for In her weekly column, “Finger Candy Friday,” Jessica gives advice and opinions about social media trends topics. 

In addition, Jessica is featured as an on-air contributor on WTKI/WEKI, Huntsville and on for the “OptiMedia Tuesday” segment. She is the Co-Creator of,  a Blog dedicated to helping Media Professionals use today’s and tomorrow’s Social Media tools

She is the Owner of Finger Candy Media, LLC.


  1. Jessica-
    YOU are a genius! I just went form being involved with your work to invested. You are Social Media giant with worldly capability. It is an honor to watch you, your company and your career grow!

  2. Wow Nate!! I am so so flattered! You are so supportive to me as a friend and a mentor!!

  3. Ditto Nathans comments! This is very well written and easy to see how it translates even to political campaigning and Social Media

  4. Jess,
    Once again your common sense approach with a twist makes marketing as simple as pie!
    You could put some of the "gurus" and "experts" out of business.
    Thanks for the simple approach to good ROI!

  5. Cindy & Rachel-
    Thank you so much for your comments! I am grateful for your support! the who of me wouldn't be without both of you in J

  6. OUTSTANDING INFORMATION!! well said. extremely simplified and your post helped me organize my thoughts. Have not read anything that actually clarified the Social Media process for me!
    I would like to read more about the actual tools meaning Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.