If it wasn't clear that most on-air personalities struggle with what to do on their shows' Facebook groups or Twitter feeds, it certainly became so after Jacobs Media's recent survey of air talent found only one-third consider their social media skills to be ‘excellent.’
Hosts for whom communication on social media has become second nature tell Inside Radio that engaging with listeners on social sites should be a natural extension of any personality's on-air presence. So if you're among the other two-thirds, this panel of experts can offer some helpful advice.
Find Your Social Media 'One Thing'
“With social media, you can start conversations and form relationships in a super-approachable way that makes the listener feel like they know you,” says Julia Lepidi, heard middays on 15 of Audacy's CHR stations including Los Angeles' “97.1 Now!” KNOU and Chicago's “B96” WBBM-FM, who holds court on Twitter with 7,800 followers. For Premiere Radio Networks' syndicated evening host Delilah, Facebook and Instagram are networks of choice, where she has 1.6 million and 105,000 followers, respectively. “I simply endeavor to showcase positive content and emphasize that which unites us on all platforms,” she says. “That’s the core of my radio programming and my life.”
Social media not only strengthens a show's engagement with listeners but also helps grow that listener base. Just ask Mason Moussette, morning host at Cumulus Media CHR “Hot 93.3” KLIF-FM Dallas, who uses Instagram and TikTok, followed by 640,000 listeners at the latter. “[Sending] people to the station's website and Instagram and my own as well was an easy way to grow an audience for both myself and the station. When I win, they win.” Jeff Kurkjian, co-host of Beasley Media Group “102.7 Coyote Country” KCYE Las Vegas' “Jeff & Aimee In The Morning” agrees that “Instagram is essential to our show's growth. It gives us an opportunity to get interaction for content. My co-host just posted 'What's a hidden gem here in Vegas?' and it blew up. Now we have a topic for tomorrow.”
One key to making social media work is maintaining the same identity and strengths as on air. “The most important aspect of social media is showing we are real people,” Kurkjian says. Adds Lepidi, “You can still be that same host anywhere. Similar to morning shows having their 'one thing,' create your social media 'one thing.' Mine [is] matching dogs to what celebrities they look like.”
‘Our Listeners Live On Social Media'
“We update our socials [not just] to remind people 'we're still here' but to make us look interesting and involved,” Mason Kelter, host of Sun Broadcast Group's syndicated night show “Party LiveLine” says. “We don't update just for the sake of putting something up, we schedule content people look forward to, like videos, interviews and show highlights.” Westwood One-syndicated nighttime host Zach Sang says, “We post one to four times on all platforms, five to six times a week,” while for Lepidi, “the bare minimum is to have a story on Instagram every day and be rattling off whatever enters my brain on Twitter.”
For many hosts, like Reach Media's syndicated afternoon host QuickSilva, who's got nearly 200,000 Instagram and 58,000 Twitter followers, posting has become an everyday thing. “If we have a celeb interview, we post the teaser to social media first to drive traffic to the show, then post highlights after to drive even more traffic to the website.”
Responding to listener comments on social media is, most agree, worth the time. “Listeners sometimes think we won't see their messages, but we do, and it's important for them to know there's a human behind our keyboard,” Kurkjian says. “Have a conversation and be genuine, and they'll be there for life,” Lepidi says. “And it took, what, a minute of your time?”
'Know Who You Are As A Person'
So how can air talent move their social media skills into the 'excellent' zone? One way is, don't overdo it. “Only engage with the platforms you have time for,” iHeart's Delilah says. “It’s more important to be authentic and engaging than to be everywhere.” Sang's advice? “Don’t stress about having to reinvent the wheel: use what you have at your fingertips, and once you build a community, no matter the size, foster it and be there for it and it will grow.”
The natural extension of personality from on-air to online can't be stressed enough. “Just know who you are as a person,” Moussette says. “If you're a klutz, embrace that, if you're a momma's boy, talk about it. People love people who are unapologetically themselves.” Audacy's Lepidi agrees that “whatever your strength, it can translate to social media.” Finally, “find out who your target audience is and what they like,” QuickSilva says. KCYE's Kurkjian adds, “As personalities, we're trained to look at the world while asking, what can I take from this and make it into a segment? That's what you have to do with social media.”