The competition for attention in the audio-listening space is fiercer than ever.
Podcasts are going from strength to strength, and people can listen to just about any radio broadcast they want from anywhere in the world.
What this means for local radio stations is that you need to be actively engaging with your listeners on digital platforms to build a loyal fan base. Instagram is a must-have.
What works on Instagram for radio stations? I’ve found six examples you can use for inspiration.
The Jet is a Seattle radio station playing a “feel-good variety” of music predominantly from the 80s.
One tactic they use on Instagram with great success is interactive games. Just like quizzes, brainteasers, and other interactive experiences, Instagram games increase user engagement. By nature, your followers want to comment in response to a question or show off their answer to a puzzle.
The Jet creates simple multi-choice Instagram games that encourage followers to comment on their posts. They also make sure that these games align with the 80s theme of the station. For example, this game focuses on superpowers – a topic often associated with the 80s.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to Instagram games? ShortStack has a range of templates and ideas to get started with.
Z100NewYork is a popular station based in New Jersey playing top 40 music.
One thing about radio is that it relies heavily on the listener’s imagination – there are no facial expressions or visuals to go with what the presenter says. Z100NewYork utilizes Instagram to bridge this gap by sharing on-air and behind-the-scenes video clips via Instagram Reels.
For starters, Reels are a great way to expand your reach on Instagram, with many videos on this channel getting 10 times the views of regular content. Not to mention the behind-the-scenes insight for your listeners humanizes your station and adds a visual element to the listener experience.
Now to the other side of the country, WiLD is a San Francisco based top 40 radio station.
A tactic WiLD uses on Instagram, which is extremely popular with radio stations, is the combination of memes and celebrities. The celebrity-meme trend, I’ll call it!
Basically, you take an interesting fact, news snippet, or quote and overlay it on a recent photo of a celebrity that is relevant to your listeners. See what I mean in the screenshot below:
I’m not 100% sure why, but meme-style content gets a ton of engagement, especially when there is a recognizable face in the backdrop. Give it a go if you think this is on-brand for your radio station.
Lone Star is a Classic Rock radio station based in Dallas. If you’re into bands such as Rush, Journey, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin – this is your jam!
Much like WiLD, Lone Star goes big with the celebrity-meme trend. A subtle difference worth noting is its use of historical pictures to remember the greats of Classic Rock. In the screenshot below, you’ll see an old photo of Nirvana and a black and white picture of AC/DC. They sprinkle elements of rock history throughout their feed, which is perfectly aligned with their audience’s interests.
Consider your audience with all the content you publish on Instagram. Aim to identify a mix of content types and ideas that play to the core of why people listen to your station.
The Bull considers itself Las Vegas’ leader in country music.
Much like the other examples in this list, The Bull is on board with the celebrity-meme trend, too! But that’s not what I’d like to highlight from its Instagram feed.
I love how The Bull integrates in-person events and shows with its online community. They utilize Instagram to cross-promote between the event and the radio station. See two examples in the screenshot below.
Combining radio and live events is a well-trodden marketing tactic that has worked for decades in this industry. Almost all radio stations use it actively on-air, so why not integrate it into your Instagram strategy, too?
KIIS is a hugely popular radio station in Australia that has links with KIIS in Los Angeles. The KIIS network is one of the most recognizable radio brands in the world.
Its Instagram account has over 140k followers and is nailing best practices for radio stations. They’ve got memes, celebrities, behind-the-scenes footage, and much more. They also post regular interactive games (which you can see from the screenshot below).
You’ll notice that KIIS integrates the pink and purple colors from its logo throughout its feed. This is excellent brand reinforcement and makes it that much more memorable.
Instagram is a crucial cog in a radio station’s marketing strategy. The examples above illustrate various tactics that work particularly well in this industry, such as interactive games, memes, behind-the-scenes footage, familiar faces, cross-promotion with events, and interwoven brand colors.
But it’s their holistic approach that makes these radio stations stand out from the rest. Instagram connects with the brand, the on-air shows, the off-air events, and everything else in the marketing toolkit. It’s a cohesive and multi-channel approach, with Instagram playing a role in bringing it all together.