This morning's guest lecture came courtesy of 612 ABC Brisbane breakfast radio presenter Spencer Howson. Possibly the most entertaining lecture I've ever been a part of, among the Dr Who, Star Wars and Mad references, we learnt some pretty nifty tips and tricks regarding the use of social media to connect with audiences - even when the medium you're working in isn't actually online.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the developing relationship between social media and news specifically, but didn't really delve into how it can be used to not only share news but actually build a brand and audience. Given that I'm a nineteen year old hoping to work in music journalism, this might seem like a bit of a cliche pick, but I honestly believe that Triple J has used social media incredibly well.
As a national 'young person' radio station, it would have been almost impossible for Triple J to achieve the mainstream success that it has without branching into social media, but the fact that they've developed such a huge presence across such a wide variety of social media channels has - to my mind - been extremely beneficial in connecting with their audience when the radio isn't on.
A few months ago the station ran a bunch of advertisements proclaiming themselves "more than just a radio station" and listing the social media channels they could be found on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube ... it goes on. I think this is probably the best demonstration of what Triple J is trying to achieve - a brand that can be part of music lovers' lives however they choose to access it.
Triple J Manager Chris Scadden summed up the success of the station's various social media channels in his yearly wrap, stating: "We've now surpassed half a million fans of Facebook [they're up to 648k now] ... making us one of Australia's biggest brands in that space. On Youtube, Triple J Like A Version performances clocked up hundreds of thousands of views. Our podcasts for new music and our youth affairs program Hack are consistently the highest rated for their genres in iTunes, as is the Triple J iPhone app."
Across the summer of 2012/2013, Triple J developed its 'Road Trip Relay' website, using Instagram as its primary source for submissions. The app was described by ABC Open curatorial director Eleanor Bell as "... enormously successful; it was one of the wins of this project. It's easy, accessible and people can do it while they're moving ... it's a really useful platform to integrate within the ABC Open site."
Triple J's Hack current affairs program is another example of the station's use of social media. Alongside texting and calling into the show, viewers are able to Tweet @triplejHack and respond to Facebook posts to contribute their opinion. What I hadn't thought about until this morning, though (thanks, Spencer!), is the fact that these social media streams mean the discussion can - and does - continue long after it goes off air, allowing readers to continue connecting not only to the show but each other.
So, what's the point of this post for me, as an individual journalist? I suppose it's mostly about demonstrating how powerful social media can be, and how important it is, regardless of the medium you're working in.