Case Study: How Social Ads and Kickstarter Allowed KPCC to Resurrect LAist

instagram, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, Facebook ads, digital marketing

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Back in 2012, a tiny radio show called 99% Invisible was desperate to continue production of what seemed to be a wildly popular podcast. With few options, host and creator Roman Mars popped up a page on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter and asked his small-but-loyal fan base to keep his show in production. They answered. More than three times over.

The success of 99% Invisible’s Kickstarter campaigns captured a lot of attention in public media. Since then it’s become clear that crowdfunding isn’t ideally suited to support the overall health of a public media station. Rather, the best candidates for these campaigns are stand-alone projects over which an audience feels a sense of strong ownership, and projects that likely could not exist were they unable to meet their funding goal on Kickstarter.

KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)

In 2018, KPCC acquired a shuddered altweekly called LAist. The acquisition was part of a transformative digital strategy aimed at growing and diversifying their audience. Though they purchased the website, they needed funds and supporters to bring it back to life and incorporate the assets with existing KPCC assets: enter Kickstarter.

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Case Study: WBHM's Success Using Targeted Social Media Ads

Facebook advertising, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, digital marketing

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Last fall, WBHM 90.3 in Birmingham, Ala. ran their first paid social media ad campaign, and it led to very successful results.

The ads were direct solicitations for donations and offers to buy WBHM socks, t-shirts, and pint glasses in hopes of cultivating these individuals for membership later on. But the success lay in the use of targeting.

Targeting, as you probably know, is the magic (or creepiness) of digital ads that have been selected for people based on their past actions online. WBHM purchased targeted ads through Facebook, uploaded the email addresses of current and lapsed members, and then had Facebook target those users with ads, along with owners of email addresses they had from the NPR One database.

The owners of the ad-targeted email addresses made 279 donations totaling $32,441 during the station’s fall, 2017 membership drive. (Donations made up to one day after an ad was viewed by an individual and up to 28 days after an individual clicked through an ad were considered part of the fall, 2017 drive).

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Case Study: How KCUR Tripled its Newsletter Subscribers Using Paid Social Media Ads

Facebook advertising, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, digital marketing

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In 2017, my station, KCUR 89.3 in Kansas City, Mo., had a content-driven weekday email that highlighted important news of the day. The content was hand-curated and high-quality, and we knew it deserved a wider audience. My digital department allocated a small budget ($1,200) toward paid Facebook and Instagram ads aimed at generating email address leads. My colleagues in audience development also saw the newsletter as a major opportunity to get to know our audience as a result of the email addresses generated by their subscription to our list. Finally, we all believed we could convert many engaged readers into donors.

When the newsletter was a year old, it had 2,100 subscribers. We set this as our baseline; our goal was to grow the list by 100 percent. This felt ambitious but attainable for what was a first-time experiment. We didn’t have clear, in-house benchmarks, nor did we have easy access to paid-social metrics for our industry, so we referenced general Facebook benchmarks for success to help guide our goal. (At the time, internet research suggested $2/lead was phenomenal success for our industry.)

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Case Study: How KWMU Generates Email Leads Using Paid Social Media

instagram, Facebook advertising, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, digital marketing

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In 2017, St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU) Digital Media Specialist Brendan Williams made a connection that led to the station’s most successful social media experiment to date.

The station was paying an agency to, among other things, deliver brand content for their social media channels like image carousels and animated video aimed at listening options. But the investment yielded little ROI. KWMU's digital team realized they were making tons of content in-house that could be repurposed. They could easily take a portion of money they were paying the agency and divert it toward in-house experimentation in paid social media ads.

The station had an appropriate target in mind for the leads: a daily content-based email that they were looking to grow. Williams’ team had experimented enough with paid Facebook ads to know they did a pretty good job generating email leads.

So, KWMU decided to reappropriate some of its agency budget to pay for Facebook and Instagram ads promoting the station’s daily content email.

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Your Email and Social Media Action Plan for #GivingTuesday

Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, #GivingTuesday, calendar year-end

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Launched by New York’s 92nd Street Y in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media. It always falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving; this year that's November 27, 2018.

It's essential to prepare in advance in order to execute a successful #GivingTuesday campaign. Start promoting on-air and online at least three weeks before the event. Make sure your landing page, email, and social media tactics are in place. And on November 27, here's what you should have in place in order to harness the growing levels of giving that occur on this day.


Send a minimum of two emails on #GivingTuesday that include a #GivingTuesday header graphic (600 x 200 pixels). The first email should be sent in the morning announcing “It’s #GivingTuesday!” and the second in the afternoon for announcing that your station has reached XX% of its fundraising goal. Also, in the morning, send an email your ambassadors to call them to action and to express gratitude for their participation.

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How National Geographic Builds Social Media Trust During the Facebook Apocalypse

facebook, PMDMC, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, General Management

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Thanks to “fake news,” bots, and political polarization online, trust in social media is at an all-time low. But social platforms still offer a powerful way to connect with audiences and donors.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans regularly use social media (Pew Research Center, 2018) and 31% of online donors now say that social media is the communication tool that most often inspires them to give, surpassing email for the first time (Global Trends in Giving Report, 2018).

A PMDMC 2018 session entitled “Building Brand Trust and Engagement in the Facebook Apocalypse” explored how one superstar brand, National Geographic, has built and maintained its social media effectiveness in an era of social media mistrust.

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When Face-to-Face Is Better Than Technology at Selling More Underwriting

sales strategy, Corporate Support, social media, prospecting

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How you conduct business, whether you are an owner, operator, manager, or sales executive, has become increasingly dependent on social media, but are we beginning to depend on it so much that we don't communicate productively?

I believe that with our increasing world of transparency and connectivity, it's important to recognize how social media can help our professional brands, digital marketing strategy, new business development, and client relations. But are we forgetting or neglecting the power of human interaction within the sales process?

Here's how to tell if you're using social media to effectively socialize with prospects and clients.

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How to Use Social Selling to Boost Credibility and Strengthen Your Station's Brand

sales strategy, Corporate Support, social media, prospecting

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Social selling is a powerful part of the approach in our now-transparent sales landscape. I feel every salesperson should embrace LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook, as they plan to approach and attempt to engage with new business prospects. Whether you choose to use paid services or navigate social media on your own, it’s a platform where you can earn trust and establish credibility with your very best prospects. It’s also a platform that, if used incorrectly, could damage your credibility with your very best prospects. OUCH!

It’s the potential to damage credibility that I have found to deter some sellers from using social selling, so here are three things you can do to ensure you’re using social selling to strengthen your personal brand and not damage it: 

1. Think about your audience.

It’s not uncommon to use social media for selling, but it’s also not uncommon to use social media for job-searching. Considering many prospects will search a potential vendor or a salesperson online before deciding to engage, what they see on your profile is perceived as what they’ll likely get. It’s a fine line between selling yourself to potential employers or selling yourself to prospects. If your profile reads like a resume, it can be a high turn-off to prospects viewing your profile.

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Why We Love Using Social Media to Lift Underwriting Sales (And Why You Should Too!)

Corporate Support, social media

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Kathy Agosta is Corporate Sposorship Director at Michigan Radio

As a statewide public radio service, it's a constant challenge to stay engaged with all of our clients. We know that face-to-face contact is always the best, but we can only afford so many hours a day of traveling between appointments. Finding better ways to stay connected with our clients is always a top priority.
Observing how other professional and consultancy services use the internet to promote themselves, we decided to create an internet-based “branding campaign” for Michigan Radio Corporate Sponsorship. Our prime focus would be to reinforce our client connections, and also raise visibility of corporate sponsorship throughout the broader business community.

First Things First

Before going public we needed to get our house in order. We revamped our corporate sponsorship web pages to be more accessible and relevant to our clients. We redesigned our media kit to mirror and expand on what we had on our website. We also introduced a weekly blog feature on topics related to sponsorship and marketing to provide fresh content that would generate return visits to our site.

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How to Use Social Media Engagement During Drives to Earn More Gifts

Membership, Social/Mobile, pledge drive, social media

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Public radio and TV stations have been early adopters of social media since the days of Myspace. The ability to donate online was launched in 1999 and it has taken almost two decades for donors to trust the technology. It took just half that time for your donors to embrace social media. If you have a been a skeptic of the power of social media for online fundraising, that may have been a somewhat wise instinct, but today there is no doubt that the futures of online giving and social media are deeply entwined. In fact, 43% of Millennials, 24% of Gen Xers, and 21% of Baby Boomers cite social media as the communication tool that most often inspires them to give online (Nonprofit Tech for Good, 2016).

What has remained elusive, however, is social media’s power to convert passive online supporters into active online donors. The fact is, your station must be good at using social media in order to convert your social audience into online donors. 

Central to multichannel communications is the concept that well-written, visually compelling, and creative content emailed, posted, and shared at the right time and at the right intervals is the secret to successfully converting a passive supporter into an active donor.

Greater Public members can access our full Social Media Playbook for On-Air Drives, including instructions on how to develop a comprehensive content strategy, refine your landing page, create effective graphics, and map out your before/during/after-pledge action plan.

And read on for the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram best practices that will instantly improve your social media campaigns during pledge drives.

Facebook Best Practices

The truth is, no one knows exactly what the magic number is for how often to post on Facebook based on the size of your following. The News Feed algorithm makes Facebook the most difficult social network for which to define best practices. What works on the 14 national NPR and PBS Facebook Pages most likely will not work for small stations with 25,000 followers or less, but the data reflects that even pages with more than 100,000 followers that post twice daily perform much better in reach and engagement, on average, than those that post multiple times daily.

If your posts receive very little engagement (1 reaction per 1,000 followers), then you are either posting too often and thus very few of your followers are seeing your posts, or you are posting the wrong kind of content.

Post twice daily.

On average, you can expect your first Facebook post within a 24-hour period to reach 3-8% of your followers. After that, reach generally declines with each subsequent post.

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