As far as the history of Indian media goes, radio has been the first device of entertainment, long before the advent of mobile phones and other tech gizmos. Also, radio was the first social medium as it allowed listeners to send in requests for songs, confess their love, send out messages for their loved ones or simply voice their opinions.
The arrival of digital and social media has complicated the radio-listener relationship. While radio might not have lost its social and mobile element completely, the medium suffers from the great divide, especially in terms of the youth TG, who have altered their paths with the advent of social media.
“The main TG of Fever FM is 18-34, SEC AB, Male & Female. This TG is also very active on social media,” said Harshad Jain, Business Head, Radio & Entertainment, HT Media, while explaining the importance of social media for the radio station.
To keep their social strategies relevant, radio players engage in a number of social initiatives that would click with their listeners.
The local touch
Radio is known for its local element as it is the only medium that can have a different content strategy practically in every city. “We have localised content on our Facebook pages to make the pages relevant to our regional stations,” said Rachna Kanwar, SVP and Business Head, Digital Media and New Business, Radio City.
Bringing the local effect on their social media channels helps create a connect. “Radio is a local medium and hence, we have pages that are city-specific. We have a separate page for every city and engage our fans through content and happenings that are local,” shared Jain.
Radio City allocates about 70 per cent of its spends to its digital platform PlanetRadioCity. On the other hand, Fever FM has a campaign-based approach.
Leveraging the photo trend
Social media studies have highlighted that a user is likely to engage with photo content more that with text content. Thus, using this element is among the best bets for radio players. “We use a unique ‘Photo blogging’ technique to keep listeners hooked on to RJ pages. Also, we have formed a team of competent professionals who coach RJs on using social media and monitor their progress regularly,” said Harrish Bhatia, CEO, My FM. The radio player allocates about five per cent of its marketing spends to digital.
Radio players also bank on celebrity gossips and fashion tips through high-end images of Bollywood stars.
Broadcasters widely use social platforms to give viewers a sneak peek of in-studio moments of RJs. “Radio stations can not only use social network for putting all in-house audio content for people to listen to, but also the fun side of radio by capturing what goes on inside the studio, on video. Social media gives a radio station a much wider reach and also allows it to interact with its audience beyond the radio,” added Bhatia.
Mix of owned and paid digital media
However, merely creating a social presence is not enough. Now, broadcasters must have a definite digital mix that helps them attain just the right level of engagement. “We include owned assets (brand website, mobile short-code) and social assets (brand Facebook pages + individual station Facebook pages + RJ Facebook pages, YouTube channel),” shared Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head, Big FM.
He further said that Big FM is investing upwards of 20 per cent of its marketing spends on enhancing the station’s digital presence as well as building engagement platforms.
Radio broadcasters have been active on social media, and a number of players have also initiated digital radio to be on the same page as today’s youth. However, as has been proved time and again, like any brand, a radio station or an RJ also needs a definite strategy to crack the social media code. While the existing strategies keep engagement going, broadcasters need to adapt to the newer social media tactics.