Attracting listeners through social media

A.D.H.    February 20, 2017

When I was a child, I remember eating my breakfast at the kitchen table each morning as my parents listened to the latest in local news and weather through a little radio on the counter. This is how many people would get their information to start their day, but now, there are other options. Now-a-days, I set my alarm 30 minutes before I need to get up to allow myself time to check personal email as well as scroll through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and I’m certain I’m not the only one.

According to a BBC News article “Facebook and other social media outlets have moved beyond being “places of news discovery” to become the place people consume their news”. Knowing this, I reached out to Dan Henry, Program Director and Afternoon host at Heart FM in Woodstock, Ontario to see how they are embracing social media to better serve their customers.

“At Heart FM and for radio in general we have an advantage over many other media or businesses. In the world of Facebook if a post doesn’t take off and keep it’s traction moving it quickly fades. We at Heart FM have the ability to post something that happened locally like a traffic accident with a picture or it could be a special event. We then are able to turn on the microphone and mention to our live audience that there is an accident at Dundas and Huron. Listeners have sent us pictures and they are on our Facebook Fan Page. That in turn will drive more listeners to the fan page and build our reach.

Heart FM is lucky too in that we are a primary source for local news in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Oxford County. Our news team generates a large number of stories every week many of which are unique. The stories all get posted to our Facebook Fan page as well as Twitter and many of those stories are large enough to help us reach a larger audience through social media. But also allow our web site to grow in unique visitors and views. Our web site as a result rivals that of markets 10 times our size.

We use social media both for pushing people to those platforms but also to push people to listen to Heart FM. We may post a  contest feature telling people to listen for an Ed Sheeran Song to win tickets to an upcoming concert.

Social media also allows our events reporter to either tweet or Facebook while they are out at live station events thus giving our clients an added bonus of coverage to our thousands of followers. “

According to Emerald Article: From social media to social customer relationship management

” To successfully exploit the potential of social media, companies need to design experiences that deliver tangible value in return for customers’ time, attention, endorsement and data. ’’ Heart FM does this by providing up-to-the-minute news, contests and the ability to interact with their personalities and others in the community in one central location through their online presence.

Heart FM also uses Tweetdeck to help them stay on top of what people are saying about them on Twitter. According to Tweetdeck’s website “TweetDeck gives the Twitter experience more flexibility by letting you view multiple timelines in one easy interface.” This helps Heart FM keep abreast of questions their listeners may have online even if they aren’t using the appropriate hash tags.

According to the article What Is Social Media Engagement & Why Should I Care? “Engagement is not just a single interaction with one of your customers, but a open line of communication over a period of time. While the term “customer relationship” may come to mind, engagement is still slightly different and on it’s own level. When we think about social media engagement, it’s about how you use networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to create a great customer experience. You want to be there there for your patrons through the thick and thin of it.” This is what Heart FM is going through social media. Have a news tip to share? Send it through Twitter. Want to enter into a contest? Post a photo to their Facebook page. Their Facebook page also allows listeners to interact in real time with others in their community, bringing everyone together.

Heart FM also utilizes YouTube to get their messages out. They do a weekly ‘Webchat with the mayor’ segment where they interview the local mayor on the upcoming council agenda. They also post local animals that are up for adoption on YouTube.

Lessons for Others

As we learned last week during the lesson on Employee Involvement, people want to be a part of something. By using social media, businesses are able to engage with their customers in real time. They are able to provide them a vehicle to have their voices heard and give their input.

With businesses like Heart FM, you build your listeners or customers over time with the product you provide. By using social media, radio stations are able to keep their listeners up-to-date when breaking news happens even when they are not near a radio, but through apps on their smartphones. They are able to tap into what matters most and also engage with their community.

By increasing traffic to their social channels, it will likely increase traffic to their website which will increase revenue in terms of add dollars.

Social media allows businesses to create deeper relationships with their brand by exchanging information, not just dollars and cents.

Organization: 104.7 Heart FM
Industry: Media
Name of Organization Contact: Dan Henry, Program Director

Authored by: A.D.H.

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Carolyn Heller Baird, Gautam Parasnis, (2011),”From social media to social customer relationship management”, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 Iss: 5 pp. 30 – 37

York, Alex (2015, October 28) What is Social Media Engagement & Why Should I Care? Retrieved from Sprout Social

Wakefield, Jane (2016, June 15) “Social media ‘outstrips TV’ as news source for young people” Retrieved from

Heart FM Adoptables (2016, May 20) Retrieved Feb 20, 2017 from