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AG News: 8/19/2010

Facebook and Radio Industry: Results Worth the Effort?

It's time for a recap of a topic brought up here on May 21, 2010. Specifically this is about an article titled "Radio Industry and Facebook - Phenom or Failure?," a discussion on the value of a radio station's Facebook page.

Looking at a random selection of 16 radio Facebook pages, you can see the stats are anything but special; the number of "fans" averaged 4,013, the percentage of market penetration was 1.01%. If scored in a manner resembling rules used in ice skating events - where you throw out the highest and lowest scores - "fans" averaged 6,084, with market penetration averaging 0.91%.

I stated that my knowledge about Facebook was minimal and "I am only beginning to understand the interaction of a social media community, so there won't be a 'this isn't working' comment here." I then hired a Facebook expert to set up a RadioRow Facebook page and explain the nuances of what she was doing. It didn't help much. My understanding of "how" these social networks generate buzz remains low, but I do have a much better grasp of why the radio industry may be finding a lackluster performance from its time spent "working" a station's Facebook page.

Here are a few thoughts, starting with this table representing the 16 stations charted for the May 21 article. (To it, I've added a couple of columns showing the differentials between then and now, in "number of fans" and "percentage of the station's market" represented by its "fans.")

In all but one case, the number of "fans" increased from 8.53% to 71.52%, depending on the station. Overall, the "average" number of "Fans" increased 31.22%, with current market penetration up to 1.37% from its previous 1.01%. There's growth, but we still need to ask whether results are worth the time invested.

# of Fans - 5/21/10 # of Fans - Current % +/- Market Population % of Pop. - Then % of Pop. - Now Station Format Market Station URL - click Facebook URL - click
1,643 2,818 71.52% 270.789 0.61% 1.04% WBUL 98.1
The Bull
Country Lexington, KY Web Site FB Page
380 475 25% 552,539 0.07% 0.09% KWNR 99.5
The Bull
Country Las Vegas, NV Web Site FB Page
7,656 9,270 21.08% 552,539 2.21% 2.67% Z107-7 Hits St Louis, MO Web Site FB Page
947 1,209 27.67% 573,358 0.17% 0.21% 945 Lake FM Hits - Classic Milwaukee, WI Web Site FB Page
3,230 3,654 13.13% 8,214,426 0.04% 0.04% 77 WABC AM News Talk New York, NY Web Site FB Page
2,086 2,264 8.53% 871,121 0.24% 0.26% WJR 760 AM News Talk Detroit, MI Web Site FB Page
498 6 -98.80% 2,833,321 0.02% 0.00% WLS 890 AM* News Talk Chicago, IL Web Site FB Page
695 1,023 47.19% 444,313 0.16% 0.23% WMJI 105.7 Oldies Cleveland, OH Web Site FB Page
1,895 2,363 24.70% 447,541 0.42% 0.53% KDKB 93.3 Rock Mesa, AZ Web Site FB Page
14,652 18,399 25.57% 871,121 1.68% 2.11% 101 WRIF Rock Detroit, MI Web Site FB Page
5,822 8,729 49.93% 733,203 0.79% 1.19% CD101 WWCD Rock - Alternative Columbus, OH Web Site FB Page
1,632 2,462 50.86% 8,214,426 0.02% 0.03% Q104.3 WAXQ FM Rock - Classic New York, NY Web Site FB Page
1,891 2,469 30.57% 220,186 0.86% 1.12% WMMO Rock - Soft Orlando, FL Web Site FB Page
2,028 2,566 26.53% 95,944 2.11% 2.67% Coast 97.3 WMNX FM Urban Wilmington, NC Web Site FB Page
11,860 15,519 30.85% 486,411 2.44% 3.19% Hot 107.9 Urban Atlanta, GA Web Site FB Page
7,287 11,020 51.23% 168,033 4.34% 6.56% Foxy 99.9 WZFX Urban Urban - Hip Hop Web Site FB Page

* WLS appears to have closed its Facebook page

Continuing my "few thoughts," let's bridge another question relative to building a fan base on Facebook: Is anybody listening? While I know that a small number of persons read the content, it appears that the majority of interaction on Facebook comes from persons posting items of interest to them - self-promotion, or comments that are without relevancy to what a radio station is trying to accomplish using Facebook.

Having put math to work in gauging response to what an "expert" has created for RadioRow on Facebook, it appears that the hours of work don't come close to the results desired. That each radio industry participant may guage "results" differently is a given. I'll just state that from my perch, there's not enough justification to continue in the same way as before.

Back in May I knew that the amount of time spent working a Facebook page was considerable. Since hiring an "expert" to guide me, I've come to see that my expectations of how much time was needed were low. There's so much more to the buildup of fans than I anticipated that a re-think of this Facebook process is required.

Mind you, I emphasize that I am not abandoning the use of Facebook, but I see through the numbers that how it is being worked is not efficient enough to warrant a continuation of it "being worked." In my mind that means analyzing how to do things differently, what approach is being missed, and how to position the message so more persons spend time reading and less time promoting their own agenda.

Facebook is new. Though we read how hundreds-of-millions of people are using it, there are not many stories of success when speaking of a return on investment for the radio industry and its use of Facebook.

As stated on May 21, "I'm going to keep plucking this chicken" until I fully understand why it's not working (in a business sense), or until it starts to show promise. I'll know, at least, that whichever way this plays out, it was given a shot to succeed.

Like an advertising campaign, in the end it all boils down to whether or not the returns are worth the effort.

About Contact Indie Artists Radio Stations Audience Data Privacy

President, Audio Graphics
Ken Dardis
Online Since January 1997

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