NPR’s Social Media Survey Results: Social Media Builds Loyal, Happy Listeners

imageAccording to a recent Mashable article, while every other news media channel’s audience is falling off — NPR’s is growing!  In fact, Mashable goes on to say that NPR is the future of mainstream media!  They go on to say that the three primary drivers of these results are NPR’s focus on local news, social media and being ubiquitous.

NPR has recently reached out to do some research with their community – and social media was a key component of the research and the feedback.  Here is how they did it and some of what they learned:

The Purpose of the Social Media Survey and Inviting Participants

Lian Hansen introduced the survey on her Weekend Edition Sunday show.  One of the things that jumped out at me is the informal tone of the invitation;

“…we’d like your reactions and suggestions for WEEKEND EDITION’s social media efforts. Your thoughts on the conversations some of us have been able to have across Twitter and Facebook are important. You’ve alerted us to stories, suggested questions for guests and become a part of our program in ways that weren’t possible just a year ago.”

The mix of respondents came from a variety of sources:

… the NPR Listens national online listener panel, on-air call outs during Weekend Edition on December 19th & 20th, Facebook postings from Weekend Edition, as well as tweets from Liane Hansen, Scott Simon, myself and other Weekend Edition staff.

For so many of us, gathering respondents involves lists and more lists, and in this case, it was a simple announcement that allowed people from the social media to self-select.

Because the purpose of the survey was to get more direction from their social media community – creating an “open mic” space probably saved a lot of money and collected “good-enough” feedback.

What do YOU think?  What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this type of methodology?

One of the wonderful aspects of gathering responses via social media is that you get immediate real time feedback from the audience in their real voice.  This kind of feedback almost has a type of “focus group” quality with one additional advantage — because the content is digital, you can search, tag and categorize the responses so that you can see the patterns that come up — and the real words your audience is using.

In what ways are you using social media as a way of gathering deeper, more colorful information from your customers and audiences?

Using social media in an intentional strategic way is a relatively new topic.  In fact, while many organizations know that this kind of information is available and valuable, few know how to take advantage of it to the point where it drives their strategic decisions.

It’s still not clear to me what NPR is going to do with the results – what specific changes will they make as a result?  It’s clear from the responses they’ve received that people felt more engaged, more special — as if they were behind the scenes.  This makes me wonder if the increased engagement will translate into more financial support.

What do YOU think?

Tell us about your experiences.  Have you asked your customers or audience about social media?  Does greater interaction and connection lead to a tighter bond between you and your customers?  Does it build loyalty?

About the Author: Ivana Taylor is CEO of Third Force, a strategic firm that helps small businesses get and keep their ideal customer. She’s the co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers” and proprietor of DIYMarketers, a site for in-house marketers. Her blog is Strategy Stew.   You can reach her directly at