Some people say social media’s origins date back to the Stone Age when cavemen drew pictures on the walls of caves. If that’s the case, then I guess the first mode of transportation was when cavemen dragged cavewomen around by their hair. Come on.
When I think of social media, I think of real-time interaction. People sharing information, opinions, observations, photos, video and other content with friends and family. That’s the “social” in social media.
Radio was the first medium to accomplish this. Newspaper can’t do it. Television has done it but radio did it first. The internet came along much later.
For decades, radio stations have been interacting with listeners in real-time. Song requests. News, traffic and weather tips. Talk show participation. Gossip. Rants. Complaints. Games and contests. Polls. Live events. Charity fundraisers. Support in times of crisis.
This real-time interaction has evolved from phone and face-to-face communication to include chats, emails, texts, photo sharing, video sharing, audio sharing – and yes, those modern social media platforms called Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
When I worked in radio and told people where I worked, someone would always say, “That’s my station!”
I’ve never heard anyone say “that’s my TV channel” or “that’s my newspaper” or “that’s my website.”
People have a strong, personal attachment with their favorite radio stations – an attachment they don’t have with other media. And it’s because of the inherent social component that radio has always had.
So what’s my point, you say?
Well, this social component is part of what makes radio advertising so powerful, especially when the programming is live and the commercials are delivered live by the hosts, who many listeners consider friends.
When executed properly, radio gives the advertiser an instant level of trustworthiness and credibility that it probably wouldn’t have with other forms of advertising. It capitalizes on the emotional bond that people have with their favorite stations and personalities, and extends that bond to the advertiser.
It also helps that on-air radio still owns car dashboards, giving advertisers the ability to speak one-on-one with potential customers for up to 60 seconds. Where else can you do that?
Of course, it ain’t cheap. And it’s not for everybody.
If you want to reach a niche audience in a small area, on-air radio can’t hypertarget like that – not yet – and isn’t likely to offer the best value.
But you get what you pay for. And it’s shortsighted to dismiss radio because internet geeks call it “old media.”
If you want to reach people in mass – people in a broader demographic group (women 25-54, men 18-34, adults 35-65, etc.) from a larger geographic area – there is no more powerful way to do that than through on-air radio advertising. It’s that simple.
I always talk about the effectiveness of content marketing – consistently creating and sharing content that’s valuable, compelling and relevant. We do this to establish expertise, build trust, maintain top-of-mind awareness and drive revenue.
This is exactly what radio does and has been doing since families first started gathering around the radio to listen to their favorite programs.
After all, it’s not like content marketing was invented after Mark Zuckerberg started hacking from his Harvard dorm room. Social media has been the home base for content marketing for a long time.
Most people just didn’t realize that radio was social media before social media was cool.