Radio Phase III auctions call out for social media marketing 3.0


If it were 2012, it would have been safe to say that Indian radio stations have managed to hit the bull’s eye with their social media techniques. However, with changing measurement algorithms, arrival of peer to peer marketing on social and evolving consumers – a massive change of strategy is required.

Globally, social media marketing has played a crucial role in shaping up engagement and listenership trends. According to statistics, in the United Kingdom 88 per cent of listeners who interacted with radio broadcasters online stay faithful to one station.Indian radio industry is now treading the same path with stronger network and permission to air news bulletins.

The INR 173 billion worth Indian radio industry is slated for further expansion with the implementation of much awaited Phase III auctions. With the industry size, increasing number of channels, RJs and hence advertisers – the sheer coming of age can be truly colossal if the industry strengthens its social media ties basis global trends.

A quick stock taking

Indian radio industry comprises of seven major players –Radio City, Big FM, Red FM, Radio One, Radio Mirchi, Fever FM and Oye FM.

Most players adapted to the new youth habitat – social media platforms, in the very first wave due to the platform’s ability of giving RJs a face while increasing the engagement quotient.

Presently, each of these radio stations has set social media strategies with emphasis on a variety of content, yet chasing the next curve.

Radio data

Radio Mirchi has managed to maintain a lead on Facebook and Twitter with 23, 61, 161 fans and 39, 300 followers respectively. Followed by Red FM with 10, 61, 669 Facebook fans and 37, 700 Twitter followers. Radio City occupies the third slot with Facebook fans standing at 60, 0, 210 and 4, 794 Twitter followers. (Data Courtesy: VML)

Each of these radio broadcaster advocates a unique sentiment through their content. Radio City mainly creates content netted around their own shows with a purpose of driving traffic to their online portal,the broadcaster has created properties such as #RadioCityPunchLine with an aim of cross platform marketing.

Similarly, Big FM extends its on-air properties on social with extensions such as quizzes about its show Suhana Safar. While Red FM reflects its Bajate Raho ideology, Radio Mirchi invokes patriotism oriented content.

Wide need gap

Exposure to radio campaigns and interactions with radio brand heads, most radio stations do not have a defined goal for social media activities and even when they do, there are not set ways to measure tangible results. The updated Facebook algorithm restricts organic interaction and Twitter reach of these radio stations is limited.

Also, the increasing impact of mobile platforms such as WhatsApp, Dubsmash and Snapchat makes Indian radio stations’ existing social strategies lopsided.

In terms of content creation, most radio stations have managed to hit the bull’s eye, however, due to a marketing gap the reach of communication is hindered. Recently, Red FM’s #Dontbehorny campaign got unprecidented response offline, however a video featuring Amitabh Bachchan during its on Youtube was completely ignored considering it received only a few hundred likes, inspite of the high celebrity quotient. This comes to show that Radio channels might still be online conservative.

Cross – platform CTA

Radio calls out for appointment listening, especially when listeners are commuting. Nonetheless, the listenership experience is restricted as soon as the listener’s commute concludes. For the perfect experience, radio players need to create a cross – platform CTA (Call to action) that guides users from on-air to their social media page and vice versa.

This reach can also be used as a business deliverable when radio broadcasters are customising packages for a certain brand. For instance, a reality radio show, sponsored by XYZ brand can have sponsored quizzes on the radio stations Facebook page, taking engagement quotient further.

Possible solutions

Agencies, are you listening? Here lies a huge market for you –

Take up radio mandates and createstructured new media marketing. Radio is a hyper local medium and thus agencies across different geographical belts would make the cut.

If hiring an agency is not on the cards, here are some basic strategies that will help the Indian radio industry take social media marketing to global standards.

Content is the new SEO

Hire a volley of content writers hailing from different parts of the cities, so as to appeal to the diverse listeners that each station caters to.

A dedicated blog hosting articles written by RJs themselves or content writers – needs to be in place. Consumers are beyond marketing; they are now looking for value holding content which they can resonate with. Also, more the number of articles and its consistency, more viewers flock in. Keeping the quality in mind, focus on the number game. Ironical, but true.

Take the influencer route

No, we do not mean mindless influencer marketing.

A well planned influencer push can work wonders. For instance, a radio station could team up with top music influencers, invite them on their show or host a live Twitter chat with them on the right occasion (let’s say the birth anniversary of Kishore Kumar).

It’s time to become a friend

Facebook and Twitter are not going anywhere, but this does not allow you to ignore young and more vibrant platforms such as Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. Not only should RJs utilize them effectively but all radio stations need to create visibility to tap into a larger market.

With the Indian radio industry entering a new phase, the timing could not be better for the industry to up its social media game.