Training On Demand: How To Grow Your Show's Audience on Social Media

Mar 25, 2014

Credit Jason Howie/Flickr

You’ve set up a Twitter account for your show, and started tweeting. You have a Facebook page and you’re posting to it regularly. You've read about how to get your show started off on the right foot with social. Now, you might be asking what the next step is to help make your social media efforts resonate with your audience.

Here are a few things you can do to help take your show's online presence to the next level and connect with your digital audience:

9 Types of Local Stories that Cause Engagement
Credit Russ Gossett

1. Understand what stories cause engagement: When you're pitching segments, keep these nine types of local stories that cause engagement handy. They can help you to frame your topic in a way that will inspire your audience online to engage with what you're putting out.

  • Consider highlighting a particularly engaging part of your segment online. That can mean anything from a great call-out, a list of suggestions from callers, or breaking news you have from a journalist on the scene of a news event.

Here are a few good examples:

2. Take advantage of helpful tools:

  • Twitter lists are a great way to organize tweets, and grow your Twitter community.  Have a list for guests, topics you frequently cover, or others on your beat. Experiment with what works for you.
  • TweetDeck and HootSuite allow you to schedule tweets, and keep the conversation going after you’re off air. Facebook also lets you schedule posts so you can easily post during your peek times of day. Excel can also help you stay organized, catalog handles, relevant hashtags and short links for upcoming shows and future use.

The NPR Code Switch Team (L-R): Karen, Kat, Gene, Shereen, Hansi, Matt and Luis. One of the ways the blog grew a strong social media so quickly since it's launch in April 2013, was by getting the whole team active and engaged on Twitter.
Credit Kat Chow/NPR

  3. Use your key resources - your team and your personality

  • Social media is a team effort. Don't leave social media responsibilities to one person. You host and producers can contribute in many ways, which can create a more engaging presence. This is one of the ways Kat Chow helped build NPR Code Switch’s social media presence. Chow made sure everyone on the team was on Twitter and comfortable joining in the conversation. She also keeps everyone in the loop by compiling interesting Tweets and information in a weekly summary.
  • Be a real person. People like engaging with other people, not robots. Have a voice and have fun. Just remember to keep it polite and professional. You can find more tips on this from NPR’s Melody Kramer, here.

Some things won’t work for your show. Some things will only work for certain topics or certain social media platforms. Check in with your team regularly to assess your social media strategy, make changes and get rid of things that aren’t working. Experimentation is key.

Here are a few more useful resources on engagement, experimentation and social media:

To learn how public radio shows are putting tips like these into action check out our conversations with, NHPR's Word of Mouth, OPB's Think Out Loud, and WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show (part 1) (part 2.)

To find out more on taking your show content online, check out: 

Have a question? Join us for a Twitter chat on digital strategy for shows, Wednesday, March 26th at 2:30pm EST.

Here at Digital Services, we're starting an ongoing project checking in with shows around the country about their digital best practices and strategies. Have a suggestion for a person or show to talk to? Email it to ejohnson1@npr.org, or send us a tweet @NPRDS.