In part 1 of this series we discussed using facebook as a tool to push visitors to your radio station. Setting up a facebook page for your station allows a station manager to network within the facebook environment and generate new listeners and visits for their online radio station. And adding facebook “like” widgets to your radio station site will help visitors “vote” for your site by liking it and thereby promote it to their facebook networks.
Part 2 of this series discusses twitter and how a station manager can use it to gain listeners and visits. If you are not familiar with twitter then you might want to read this article – twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows people, web services and applications the ability to convey 140 character messages about what they are up to now.
There are two main ways a radio station can use twitter and each requires its own twitter account. So head on over to twitter and sign up for two different accounts. The first account will contain a stream of your ‘now playing’ song titles that will update as songs change in your broadcast. This will be populated automatically by a php script – details below. You can call that “station name_nowplaying”.
The other account is a more custom news stream from the station that will allow a station manager to promote station artists, events and contests. Few twitter followers will want to be updated on *every* song you are playing and will sometimes unfollow you as the song stream data can be annoying and clog their stream. By having this second account set up – a follower can still get good news and updates from their favorite stations without having to get song by song updates as well. By splitting these up – we make sure your news and retweets and recommendations do not get lost in the ever updating stream of now playing song title tweets.
So now that you have the two account set up – you will need to manage them. We recommend hootsuite or tweetdeck. Each of these applications has a free level and a premium level. The free level is fine for most uses. These programs can offer some great benefits:
• You can set up multiple accounts on each and easily manage them on the same screen.
• You can “pre-tweet” your news so that tweets will go out on your schedule
• You can set up searches for keywords relevant to your station and easily retweet and follow other users
To connect twitter and shoutcast you will need a php script and some help from your webmaster. Here are the steps to get it started:
Here is a link to the first twitter to shoutcast connection script
Shoutcast to Twitter Now Playing Connector (3516)
1. Register a new app at http://dev.twitter.com/apps/new
2. Fill in tokens and server info in twitter.php
3. Upload title.txt, twitter.php, EpiCurl.php, EpiOAuth.php, and EpiTwitter.php to your webserver IN THE SAME FOLDER!
4. Make sure that title.txt is writable (chmod 777)
5. Visit twitter.php in your browser or setup a cron job (explained earlier in this thread)
Here is a second script
SAM Shoutcast to Twitter Now Playing Connector (1862)
Both scripts came from the shoutcast community and any questions can be posted here in the shoutcast forum.
In closing – use twitter to follow radio stations, internet radio news sources and artists you like. Post your own news on twitter to keep your followers up to date on your news and set up a second twitter account to link in to your shoutcast “now playing” data.
Next time we will discuss twitter techniques and marketing ideas to help attract new listeners and keep your current listeners engaged.