You read that headline correctly, but please don’t get me wrong. I am a big advocate that every radio station should be on whatever social media platforms their listeners are on so they can engage with them there and share out content that ultimately leads back to the station website so that traffic can be monetized. Monetized could mean getting listeners to sign up for a newsletter, having them purchase station swag, or simply getting more clicks that you can sell to banner ad clients. Once you have visitors on your website, where you want them, why send them back to social media?
We advocate using the properties you rent (social media) to drive the properties you own, like your website, newsletter, stream, etc. A few weeks ago, we had Seth Resler with Jacob’s Media on our podcast and I loved his take on this.
The way I think of social media and its relation to the station website is very similar to the way of if you own a radio station and you put a billboard by the highway. The reason you want to be by the highway is that lots of people are on the highway, which is the exact same reason you want to be on social media. Lots of people are on social media. The point of the billboard is not to hope that people drive by the billboard and say “what a cool billboard”. The point is that you hope they see the billboard and tune in to the radio station.
By the same token, you hope people see you on social media and they just don’t just like it or comment on it and say, “that’s great”. You hope they click back and come to your website, which is the asset that you own. And once they are on your website, it’s there that they can stream the station, it’s there that you can capture their e-mail address, or they enter a contest, or they can click on a link that says “Advertise With Us”.
I see radio stations have big widgets that show all of the things we’ve posted to Facebook. For me, I went through all that work to get them off of Facebook to my website, the last thing I want to do is send them back. That’s like going on your radio station and saying “check out our great billboard on the highway”. Why would you do that? That’s not the point.
You might find that listeners will engage with you directly through these platforms and completely sidestep your website entirely, and that means revenue you could be missing out on.
I get it. It’s super easy to post something to your friends and followers on social media platforms. It’s often way easier than updating your website, which is why we see many stations regularly posting news, promotions, and announcements directly to their social feeds.
Most people do not realize that only a small fraction of your followers will see anything you post on social media. I follow several radio stations but only see the occasional post because I don’t click “like” on every single one. Social media companies make their money by charging you to put your post in front of a bigger number of your followers. Out of 10,000 followers, a single post may only reach 10-20 people. But if you pay extra to boost your post, it can be seen by many more.
Social media companies also make their money from ads and that means they want to keep visitors on their platforms longer – so that more ads are seen. That’s why Facebook was designed by the world’s best user experience experts and the algorithm is coded to show you stuff that you like. It’s all to keep you there longer. Keep this in mind. Once you drive someone from your website to Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok, they’re likely gone for the rest of the day.
Instead of promoting your social media channels, focus more on what you want them to do when they get to your site. Is that signing up for the station newsletter, entering a contest, streaming the station, or clicking on a major news story?
Get Rid of these Elements on Your Site
Please examine your website and remove these elements right away.
1) Social Media Widgets
While we offer these widgets on our websites, we highly disagree with them. These widgets, typically in the sidebar, show your latest tweets, Facebook posts, etc. When visitors click anything in the widget box, they are either taken to your social media platform or another website. And they will likely not return. If you do use these on your site, hide the activity feed so that only the like and share buttons are visible.
2) Social Media Sections
Even worse than the social media widgets are these large social media walls, typically on the homepage, that are filled with Facebook and Twitter posts. Most often these are filled with posts shared by station personnel linking anywhere from the local weather bulletin to funny FAIL compilation. Either way, you have a page full of reasons why someone should leave your website and go elsewhere. As a smart advertiser, I would have trouble buying an ad on a website that heavily promoted sending people away.
3) Banners/Large Graphics
Remove these large graphics encouraging people to leave your site and to go get sucked in on social media. Like Seth explained, why promote going back to the billboard that promoted the website? Visitors are where you want them to be.
If you want to grow your social media followers, we recommend including something like Facebook’s “Like-Button” on your site. This is a button that allows someone to like and follow the station’s Facebook page without going to Facebook to do it. Twitter also has a “Follow Button”, and it also works while keeping visitors on your site.
Using Social Media on Your Site Properly
Live events aside, everything you do on social media should ultimately point back to your station website. Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media platforms that allow sharing of links so that those links drive them back to your website.
Showing icons on your website that link to your social media properties is good because it lets visitors know where you are active. Please don’t confuse these with share buttons. Share buttons, typically either the top or bottom of posts and pages, are a very good thing because they allow your visitors to share your content on their favorite platforms. These buttons do not have anything to do with your social media properties. They typically appear in a popup or new window so that the visitor doesn’t have to leave your website.
Think like social media channels. Do all you can to bring more visitors to your site and keep them there for as long as you can. Doing so can mean better SEO scores, more conversions (meaning that they do what you want them to like signing up for a newsletter, streaming the station, etc) and it can result in more revenue from being able to show higher numbers for the banner ad clients you have. That’s what they do. I hope this information is helpful to you. If so, please reach out to us.