Radio and social media – everyone sees the importance, everyone still has questions. Some ideas from Germany for radio stations involving their friends & followers.

Strategies to combine Facebook and Twitter with radio is one of the most discussed radio industry topics. German radio people talked about how they use new platforms to expand the radio station brand online, at the Lokalrundfunktage in Nürnberg. Being personal and emotional is just as important as being interesting and relevant. “Interaction is everything.”




  • How to talk to radio audiences through social media
  • The major benefit of social media for radio station campaigns
  • How to convert a small number of Facebook fans into massive online traffic
  • The use of Twitter as a reporting tool for developing (investigative) news stories


Social media is where listeners are

Caroline Grazé heads the online department of ENERGY Germany and sees radio’s presence in social media as a natural development. “We are used to broadcast our program to the listener’s car, bathroom, kitchen, or computer. When our listeners are on Facebook, which is just the Internet accumulated inside a micro cosmos, then we are there, too.” ENERGY has 245.000 friends on this popular social network site. Grazé quotes some average statistics, released by Facebook.



Facebook facts

  • Facebook users visit the website 23 times per month average
  • Each visit takes about 10 minutes (equals 4 hours a month)
  • Facebook has 500 million monthly active users worldwide
  • About 25% of these 500 million people goes there daily | Caroline Grazé of ENERGY Germany's online department wants the station to be 'personal, authentic and approachable' in social mediaSocial media fans: radio station friends

ENERGY wants to be ‘personal, authentic and approachable’ online. “Our fans are our friends. They don’t want to hear: hey, I’ve eaten an apple, what are you having for breakfast? Fans want to be emotionally involved.” She observes that the email, phone and text message days are gone. “Our listeners write on Facebook where they see a traffic jam, or that they love the song we’ve just played. They talk to us. We just have to listen – and answer.”



Convert Facebook friends to radio listeners

Radio stations can never put every caller on air and answer all audience questions. Through social media (specifically Facebook) stations can reach out to every individual. “I swear to you: everyone that you answer, will most likely reply to your comment”, Caroline Grazé says. “When people are in touch with your brand online, turning on your radio station is just one click away.” To her, social media are a shortcut to reach new audiences: “When a billboard on the street shouts that Radio XYZ has the hottest morning show, I still have to recall this on my way to the radio, mobile device or computer.” | ENERGY Germany shows a steady increase of the number of Facebook fans and the amount of online radio stream starts (graphic: Caroline Grazé)

ENERGY Germany’s Facebook community (blue) and online radio listening (red) trends (graphic: Caroline Grazé)



Active conversations create loyal listener following

ENERGY makes digital waves. In June 2011, the worldwide brand had in Germany 7.5 million streamstarts a month and (as mentioned before) 245.000 Facebook fans. Grazé makes clear that statistics like this do not come overnight. “You can not put a Facebook page online and expect to have many friends the next day. Some shareholders like to compete with others for the biggest Facebook audience. That’s not important. Important is that you communicate actively with your friends & followers and make them loyal. Remember: your product is on the Web just one click away.” | Daniel Fiene of Antenne Düsseldorf sees that radio presenters use Facebook as a show-prep tool for listener inputSocial media sharing, radio topic insights

Antenne Düsseldorf has about 9000 Facebook fans, and is posting short headlines of the local news on Facebook (plus a link to the station website). “We were surprised to see that people start discussions about things that we never expected them to talk about” says editor Daniel Fiene of Antenne Düsseldorf. “Our presenters love it. They just post a question on the Facebook page and use this input during the show. It has totally replaced email.”



Size doesn’t matter (compelling content does)

Here’s an eye-opener: even a small amount of fans can generate big results. “The admin panel of our site shows a very exciting number: post views. Over the last 4 weeks, our postings have been viewed 1.4 million times – with 9.000 fans. We were really surprised!” The fact that people forward content to their friends, who re-send it to their friends makes social media “a good instrument to create brand loyalty”. It also drives more traffic to the station’s website. About 5% of Antenne Düsseldorf’s web traffic comes from Facebook, and every 9th visitor enters by clicking the URL inside a Twitter post. | Daniel Fiene of Antenne Düsseldorf shows that 1.4 million post views in 4 weeks are possible with just 9.000 Facebook fans who forward content to their friends

Daniel Fiene of Antenne Düsseldorf (standing on the right) shows that just 9.000 Facebook fans are enough to create 1.4 million post views in 4 weeks time, using the ‘send-to-a-friend’ multiply effect (photo: Lokalrundfunktage)



Local radio stations popular on Facebook

Especially for local radio, Facebook can make a difference. Based on his own research in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Daniel Fiene concludes that up to one third of a local station’s regular audience is also liking it on Facebook. The reason is probably that local radio can geo-target; can reflect to the talk of the town like no-one else. National stations, or the ones that broadcast for a whole state, in general just cover topics that are relevant for the whole area. | Thomas Poppe of Radio Primavera thinks that radio has the unique ability to create personalities, who connect listeners to the stationTwitter as investigative radio reporting tool

Thomas Poppe of Radio Primavera once did a feature on malicious sales pitches targeting seniors, presented as free bus trips (in Germany known as Kaffeefahrt, a coffee ride). On an outside location, people are put under heavy pressure. Brainwash and manipulation techniques are used to let them buy expensive rubbish. Poppe used Twitter to report. All day long he covertly tweeted updates and self-taken photos using his smart phone.



Radio benefits from social media personalities

“It’s a new way of involving your audience, and it created waves that I did not expect. When I came back to the office, my inbox was filled with 1.400 new messages; one email for every new Twitter follower.” He later put a full report of the undercover day on his blog, which got 25.000 hits in two days. Even though he used his own Twitter account and weblog, the station benefits in his opinion. “A personality is connected to the station. Social media give radio a chance to create personalities who are in close contact with the listener. Interaction is everything.”



Caroline Grazé (ENERGY Germany) and Thomas Wetzel (egoFM, discussion leader) during the session about radio and social media at the Lokalrundfunktage in Nürnberg (photos: Thomas Giger)

Caroline Grazé (ENERGY Germany) and Thomas Wetzel (egoFM, discussion leader) (photos: Thomas Giger)




How to use social media and radio combined:

  • Communicate interactive and emotional in social media and find loyal fans & followers
  • Share your content in social media and see what your audience really cares about
  • Benefit from send to a friend multiply effects when you’re a small station
  • Create social personalities that connect to your radio audience
  • Provide news updates on Twitter
  • Build brand loyalty on Facebook