Career Capsule: An experienced marketing professional, Lee Ann Jackson now marks her 30th year at Ambassador as a Media Strategist, an expert liaison between ministries and station partners, and more recently, as the agency’s Social Media Manager. Recently, to further deepen Ambassador’s engagement in the digital arena, Lee Ann earned a Mini-MBA in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School. An early adopter on the podcasting scene, she’s also led the way for the agency’s widening expertise in this field.
In addition, she has long served as well in facilitating placement on behalf of organizations with content in the Spanish language which she speaks fluently.
Before coming to Ambassador (and after earning a degree in International Relations and Political Science at UCLA), Lee Ann served Focus on the Family on their marketing team and is now part of the group supporting Focus once again as part of Ambassador’s representation.
Lee Ann… tell us what’s new with you … and at Ambassador…news, changes, etc?
As many of the broadcast ministries we serve learned to pivot their outreach in the face of the pandemic, it was encouraging to see:
A deepening of ministry and radio station relationships as broadcast ministries held Zoom meetings to share and engage with station partners.
Radio programs specifically designed to share the message of hope amidst the crisis of the days.
The growing opportunity to nurture the partnership between radio and social media as once the pandemic hit, social media use increased across demographics, Forbes Communications Council. Also noteworthy is that inspirational content has always done well on social but even more so as a result of the pandemic, the door for sharing Biblically-based hopeful encouragement has been propped a little wider. In fact, despite what might be presumed in the midst of difficult days, we continue to dialog with organizations anxious to engage in Christian radio who understand the power of that audience.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd in social marketing?
Christian Radio, like other radio formats, is personality driven, but of far greater significance is that it’s a format driven by the most important message there is to share. More than ever, during these days of uncertainty in nearly every area of life, we each must stand out and social media is a largely untapped area for us. Despite well founded reservations about the bias and/or social media censorship, communities of people on social channels need to hear messages of hope and about the gift of eternal life. We in Christian radio need to be a voice in that space creatively extending our radio ministry outreach. User-generated content (“UGC”) is an area of potential growth for Christian social media. UGC content, text, videos, images, etc. created by people, rather than brands, is a very effective organic way to grow your social outreach. Users create and share posts featuring your brand, (your radio station), sharing your station to their audience. Brands, in our case–Christian radio, then share UGC on their own social media accounts.
What is the best social marketing advice you’ve been given? The worst?
One of the best pieces of social marketing advice I’ve received comes from Lori Lewis, Lori Lewis Media, Social Media Management: “We define our brand by how we behave in this space.” It’s important for us to remember that the message we share in Christian radio is the most important message and that everything we share socially should align with that core message.
One of the worst pieces of advice is counsel I heard shared during a social media webinar – when asked how often to post on social channels, the speaker responded “a lot.” While I agree that social platforms should reflect current and consistent activity, posting content simply for the sake of doing so is not good advice. Before sharing on any social platform, stop to consider the value of the content. Let content value direct your posting schedule instead of visa-versa.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people doing regarding their social marketing? (Radio stations or otherwise)
One of the biggest social marketing mistakes being made are campaigns and content that are consistently about you vs. your audience. Radio station social platforms should have a balanced approach when it comes to what to share on social. Yes, share about the station but also be focused on the needs of the audience. (See my reference to the social media rule of thirds in my reply below).
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?
The one thing I must have every day to do my job is my content calendar. Every month, I set aside time to map out events, projects and milestones for our ministry clients as well as office events, national days, holidays and “on-this-day” dates. Then, I try to schedule posts as far as out as I can (gathering graphics, pictures and creating captions). This is not to say that all content should be mapped out a month in advance, but certainly, intentionally planning on the activities we know are happening that month is part of the strategy and sure makes the day to day of social media management easier!
What are hottest trends you see in social marketing for radio?
Right now, one of the trends in social marketing for radio that I’m keeping an eye on is the audio-based social app, Clubhouse. It’s a new platform that allows users to chat in real time, share stories, collaborate . . . in other words, it’s a way to build communities. I’m still a Clubhouse neophyte, having just received an invite to join recently, (you can’t join Clubhouse without an invite), but I did register my username and I’m testing the waters. As Lori Lewis notes in a Clubhouse write-up she did for Jacobs Media Strategies recently, “The fact that Clubhouse is 100% audio is something that should get everyone in radio’s attention.”
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Social Marketing for Christian radio?
A big obstacle facing social marketing for Christian radio is the same challenge general market radio faces – adhering to the social media rule of thirds: 1/3 promoting your product or services, 1/3 interacting with others, and 1/3 sharing industry news and tips you believe your followers could benefit from. The purpose of the “rule of thirds” is to be more appealing to the respective audience by being engaging and interesting and, limit how much you talk about yourself.
Who are your marketing heroes and influences? and why?
I have several influencers in the space that are my “go-to” for radio and social media insights. As referenced earlier, Lori is among the voices I most respect in the social media marketing industry. Lori started in radio and moved into social media. Most recently, she launched her own social media management, marketing and monetization firm committed to advising brands how to create real impact in the social space. I’ve appreciated Lori’s insights in the social sphere since I first heard speak at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB) years ago – her balance of radio background combined with social expertise resonates with my heart for both industries.
Another favorite is Marketing Speaker, Consultant and Coach, Neal Schaffer. I started following Neal socially years ago and had the privilege to have him as one of my Rutgers Social Media Marketing Mini MBA instructors. Neal’s work has appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. I appreciate Neal because he not only shares his expertise but he is deliberate and thorough on providing the “why’s” and “how’s” to implement what he shares. For instance, during the Rutgers Mini MBA course, Neal underscored that content shared on social must be good but it must also be audience centric. He encouraged us to sift through potential content by asking the question, “Are you adding value to people or are you just advertising?”