Using Social Media to Recruit Viewers: Six Rules You Should Never Break

By Graeme Newell 

1) Present yourself as a human being, not a company

Escape the bonds of your corporate identity, loosen that tie, and get friendly. Remember, its called social media, not business media. Its purpose is to socialize and bond, not to exploit the patrons. If your sole intent is to build your business, odds are the audience will see right through your superficial agenda.

Social media sites are not a place to blatantly hock your shows, and those who break this rule will be cast out by the communities they hope to friend. However, there are lots of people recruiting new audiences and making substantial amounts of money through social media. These pros understand social media is based on the very human principles of giving and listening. Think of social media as the local tavern, a place where you gather with friends to share the experiences of the day and to raise a pint or two. Now consider all the things you would never do to your friends in a bar.

2) Never advertise, instead, socialize

You would never walk into your local tavern and yell “I’ve got shoes for sale for $39.00 a pair. Who would like to buy some from me?” Every person in the place would instantly avoid you. Doing this instantly tags you as a taker with a transparent, self-serving agenda. Treating your friends like a potential sales mark is strictly prohibited. I see TV station social media profiles that are exclusively populated with self-serving posts that are nothing more than free ads.

“Watch Channel 9 tonight for an update on the storm.”

“Channel 9 has the latest reports from Wall Street. We are your station for complete coverage.”

Their egotistical agenda is obvious–all they want are followers to watch their news. It’s all about their own ratings for this station. They see other participants as a crop to be harvested, not a relationship to be nurtured. This station does not want friends, it wants prospects. If you want to advertise on Facebook, then buy an ad, but never jeopardize the tenuous friend relationship by showing your buddies such a selfish agenda. Don’t treat Facebook like it’s a radio promo or a billboard ad.

3) Speak like a human, not an advertising shill

Don’t talk in ad speak. It just makes people distrust your motives. Take a look at these posts from a local station Facebook page:

“Watch Carrie’s report on autism, tonight at 6 on Channel Nine–your local news source.”

“Watch the Valley’s most complete coverage of the police shooting tonight at five.”

People just don’t talk like this. You would never spout sales slogans at your local tavern and you should never do it on social media sites. Social media is a place where you inform and share. Never subject your online community to slogans, calls-to-action or sell lines. Remember, these are advertising tools and social media is not advertising.

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Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at