Many brands are looking towards social media influencers as one of the tactics they can use to drive interest in their products and services among consumers. As they do so, they should not forget about the ability of radio station presenters and DJs to help them connect with customers.

As one example of how effective radio personalities are as influencers, consider the success of a campaign Mediamark ran for UCook, a fast-growing e-commerce business that delivers ingredient kits to make it simple for people to prepare healthy meals at home.

The company wanted to expand its footprint from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Kwa-Zulu Natal and ran an integrated, multichannel campaign that leveraged East Coast Radio, its presenters and their digital and social media channels.

A key part of the campaign was a competition that offered listeners the opportunity to share a UCook meal with their favourite East Coast Radio presenters, including Darren Maule, Jane Linley Thomas and Bongani and Maggs. The campaign delivered a 12% uplift in the region.

Here are two reasons why activations that tap into the influence of radio personalities work significantly well:

1. Radio presenters have their listeners’ trust

The term ‘influencer’ may be a product of the digital age, but radio presenters have been influencing their listeners for many decades. They are well-loved and trusted among loyal listeners because of the emotional connection that they create through their voices and personalities.

The key to their influence is that they are with people day-in and day-out on their daily commutes. Many listeners come to think of their favourite radio presenter as a friend — someone who always has a good joke, a useful piece of advice or insight into the world that they can rely on.

In a world of clutter, this is a great opportunity for brands to cut through with high-quality engagements. Radio influencers will often have time to chat in a way that feels natural to audiences and they’ll spend several minutes on-air discussing a promo or competition, sometimes even going off-script with anecdotes and details.

2. Their reach spans from online to the airwaves

Radio stations and radio presenters today have an excellent online presence through websites and social media. This presents multiple opportunities for increasing reach and frequency by interacting with people at different touchpoints — from broadcast radio to streamed audio to social media.

Radio is great for inspiring the listener’s interest and imagination through audio, while social and digital adds a visual element to the campaign. Social media is a boon for driving engagement. Presenters can ask people to follow their social accounts, enter an online competition or simply to share their opinions and stories.

Additionally, followers can share social media content, extending reach to people who are not regular listeners of a presenter’s show. This can help multiply the results of a radio activation with a small increase in budget.

The key to making the most of the opportunities of a radio influencer-driven campaign is to make use of both the presenters’ radio shows and their social presences. This enables brands to reach consumers with the medium or channel that they prefer, driving better uplift and response rates.

Coordinating planning, executions and measurement across different disciplines — social, digital and radio — will help ensure that the work done at each touchpoint is complementary. This, in turn, will drive a higher return on investment from the campaign.

By Charlie Wannell, Head of Marketing, Mediamark