Podcast

How can you use social media to spread the reach of that podcast you put so much time into every week?

To find the answers, I spoke to Delaney Simmons from WNYC, the largest talk radio station in the United States. We talked about the futures of radio & podcasting, and how they’re using social media to deliver their content.

You can listen via iTunesSoundCloud or keep reading for a summary of our conversation. Our tip of the week is to use Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat when you’re organising an event, and this week’s big shout goes out to Carlos E. Valdivia, a digital strategist at Show of Force.

Which Social Channels are Most Important to WNYC and why?

They’re all my babies. So making me choose is kind of difficult. I would say there’s a lot of clout in our podcast brands. So if you look at the Radiolab Facebook page, I think we’re over a quarter of a million fans now. That brand has been around for a long time. We’ve been grandfathered into a really amazing community of listeners. The 2 Dope Queen’s accounts have taken out from scratch. And as we all know, I think everyone listening will know how hard it is to grow organic fan audiences nowadays with all of our platforms being pay to play. So we’ve been really pleasantly surprised at the success of those accounts.

The WNYC Instagram is a really unique place. If people want to go check it out, we post pictures of weird things that we see around the city, like a mattress on the street that says, free hugs, or you’re beautiful, or something like that. So there’s just like quirky, weirdy New York moments that is captured there. It really speaks the tone of our audio.

They see us rollin’…

A photo posted by WNYC (@wnyc) on

Where are you Experiencing the Highest Levels of Engagement?

I think we’re still seeing the highest levels of engagement on Facebook. When we talk about radio, we do talk about a little bit of an older audience. I mean, that lives on Facebook primarily. We are seeing great engagement on Twitter with our podcasts when there is a journalism component. I think we still see a lot of news junkies on Twitter in that real time moment when our content has hit that breaking news strife. But we talk about social media for audio in a really specific way. It is hard to get people there and to get people to engage with content that isn’t visual, so most of our engagement is probably happening when we build engagement projects into our podcasts.

So a good example would be a podcast called Note to Self, hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, leading a project once a year, and it’s usually a huge project. Our most recent project was called Infomagical, and it was actually a five-day challenge, asking fans of the podcast to listen to a new episode every single day and do something that edits their behavior. So when audio can actually come into your life and challenge you to be better in certain aspects or change your behavior to increase your productivity, that’s where we see a lot of engagement. Because then, we see people flooding to all of our accounts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email newsletter, or our texting system letting us know how the podcast has actually influenced their life. And that’s like a meaningful engagement for us, more than a like or more than a comment.

What’s the Scoop with Audiograms?

So what we’ve done is we’ve built a tool. It’s currently only available for WNYC, but we’re looking to open-source it in the next month or so. We’ll definitely have to give you the info. But it’s a tool that producers can go in, upload a clip of audio, and turn that audio into a movie file. So the movie file can then be uploaded on video.twitter.com, on Facebook Native, on Instagram, if it’s less than 30 seconds, on Tumblr. So we’re actually visualising our audio content in a really interesting way. The way we’ve set it up is that it’s 30 seconds maximum.

The show like Radiolab or Freakonomics would pick their brand and so then they would take the audio, pick their brand, the logo goes on it, and then there’s an equaliser across the screen that is actually reading the highs and lows of the audio. And I’m not an audio engineer but it does like peak minutes slide or it will make a blippy moment when it’s little bit more quiet.

So if you’re scrolling through your news feed, the hope is that you see a piece of content that looks like an audio player. You’re actually like, “Oh, this looks like audio. I have to click to play to hear the sound.” And we’re actually working on close cap on those videos because, as we all know, videos play, audio play with no sound. So we’re really looking to try to capture that in line, scrolling through your news feed sampling moment and finding audio that’s super shareable.

We’ve seen incredible results. I have been really, really happy with them. We’ve seen upwards of 50% increase in engagement on Twitter. We’ve seen them do organic reach on Facebook about on par with our regular videos. And I think that that success is…if you can take a piece of video content that isn’t really video and it’s doing just as well, I think that that speaks volumes.

And we’ve also seen, I think it’s about 30% increases in completion rate on Twitter. So people are actually sticking around for the whole 30 seconds. And I think that 30 seconds is that magic number of like, “I’ve got 30 seconds to kill. Sure, I’ll listen to this piece of audio.” And hopefully, people want to go find the long form audio. We’re really doing this to get people back to our long form content, where we monetise, and make sure that people are excited about what we’re doing.

How can you Calculate the ROI on Social Media?

It is a lot of estimation. I think in podcasting, we’re still on the wild wild west of analytics. Everyone is measuring a download or listen a little bit differently. But from social media, we do see number of clicks. We don’t know if they clicked over and listened but number of clicks is a pretty good estimation of how many people got to that landing page where the long form audio does live. So we just shorten all of our links and we just track click-throughs that way. Video.twitter.com and also Facebook Native have the ability to do a custom call to action which is like a link overlay on top of your videos. So if you’re hitting clay, there’s a little button that goes up in the top right hand corner that says, ‘Watch more,’ or, ‘Learn more,’ and you can click over, and it either links to iTunes or to wnyc.org or to the WNYC app.

How can new Podcasters Attract Listeners While Moving Beyond Just the Sound?

I think it is still a pay-to-play situation. Social buying has become incredibly inexpensive especially on Facebook. We still see Twitter as being a little bit more expensive. But doing highly targeted posts on Facebook can be really effective to get people aware of what you’re working on. We always start with a really great influencer strategy. It’s the same as any industry, but if you can get some big people or some big brands excited about what you’re doing, if you can work on booking the right people that have a large social following to post about your new episode, I think that that’s still a best practice that we should all be following. I don’t have a ton of Twitter followers but I will post about this episode when it’s live. And if I did have a ton of followers, that would be an awareness for my audience in that regard.

Follow Delaney on Twitter @delaneysocial. Featured image: Shutterstock.

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About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO at Link Humans, an employer branding agency.

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