Erin Gargan

The key to increasing the value of social media utilized by radio stations can be summarized in a single word: sharing. This is according to Erin Gargan—a marketing consultant and founder of social media marketing agency Socialite Agency—who helmed the rapid-fire Monday NAB Show panel “Decoding Millennial Behavior: The Psychology of Social Sharing.”

As a Millennial herself, Gargan joked with the audience that, “People are not happy with us. What’s our legacy? Selfies. But the good news is, you shouldn’t be freaking out, because Millennials listen to a ton of music and a lot of radio and spend a lot of time on social media. This is good for the radio industry.”

To make the best use of social, she noted, “What is more powerful than a listener sharing something from your social media and saying, ‘This is me, I relate to this.’ Otherwise you and your station are spending a lot of resources and not getting anywhere. The power of social media is activating the share.”

Radio has room to grow with the concept, Gargan said. Currently, many stations’ social media via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat focuses on information about disc jockeys and personalities, concerts and promotions, and local news, traffic and weather. “This is good stuff,” she said, “but what is even more effective is…would a Millennial dare to share the content from a station or a brand?”

Gargan identified three types of millennial social media users—and how radio stations can best target them. “The Insider” likes to be the first person in the game, the VIP who shares something that isn’t widely known. For radio stations, appealing to this subset—and convincing them to share a stations’ social media posts—involves releasing information about a promo or an event on social before it is shared over the air; or posting video footage at an event backstage that is only available via the social feed. “Make it a little more exclusive to get the Millennial” Gargan said.

The second type of social media user is “The Experiencer.” They tend to connect with “super emotional experiences,” said Gargan, such as the “hilarious, the shocking, scary, adventurous…anything that creates a strong experience.” For stations, “amplify how your listeners are reacting to your music, share funny incidents with deejays and station staff, something that feels; because if they don’t feel, they don’t share.”

The third Millennial social user is deemed “The Helper.” These are listeners with big hearts who want to change the world. They love the idea of helping globally and helping friends and family and their immediate network. The perfect example of a social media success for this group: The Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised money and awareness for ALS research. “It checked every box,” Gargan said. For radio stations, she added, “Amplify local community events, non-profits and charities. If it is saving listeners’ friends time and money, chances are the user will dare to share.”

Gargan wrapped by telling the audience that, “while you’re out there in the trenches, social media can be your buddy—if you understand that decoding Millennial behavior is simple. Looking at content through this lens—will they dare to share—will get you the share you deserve.”