How RADIO.COM used social listening to crown the #ArtistOfTheSummer

Every year, the debate about who is the artist of the summer is controversial, and the artists’ fans are happy to join the entertainment. That year, 96.5 (WTDY-FM) Philadelphia, a RADIO.COM pop radio station that is part of the massive Entercom brand, launched a competitive poll for fans to crown a pivotal winner.

Online fandoms are known to be extremely passionate groups, and on social media that passion often leads to engagements. When WTDY-FM Philadelphia announced the competition with the hashtag #ArtistOfTheSummer, they unlocked the power of these fan communities and delighted fans of almost all top 40 artists and / or groups.

Using Sprouts Social Listening, the radio station wrestled millions of messages in nine rounds of the poll, measured their poll results, and turned social engagement into growth for every brand platform and touchpoint.

Social listening meets loyal listeners

For the #ArtistOfTheSummer initiative, 96.5 (WTDY-FM) Philadelphia selected 44 artists to start voting. Then, in nine rounds, they used social listening to narrow the field.

To vote on Twitter and Instagram, fans had to mark the handle of the radio station, include the name of an artist and #ArtistOfTheSummer. These requirements matched the sender’s query that was set up in Sprouts Social Listening so that all social media posts were automatically tracked. To encourage even more fan engagement and expand their social communities, they’ve encouraged retweets and follow-ups so they’re worth extra points for an artist.

At the end of each weekly voting round, they used the conversation summary table in Sprout to count the messages received and aggregated by keyword. Every message received and recorded in volume was counted as a vote for that artist in that round.

In addition to filtering the results to focus on each artist in the competition, the broadcaster’s social team examined the conversation about #ArtistOfTheSummer as a whole, including beyond insights directly related to their survey. The topic query also summarized news and keywords for the MTV “Hottest Summer Superstar” competition, which also used a hashtag-based voting system. This is a great example of how social listening can help brands gain insight into simultaneous, competing events and a common audience, which in this case are the top 40 fans.

And the winner is…

At the end of the competition, the radio station’s Sprout Listening Topic captured a total of 21.9 million messages shared by over 637,000 individual authors, and the hashtag was trending on Twitter multiple times. Former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson was eventually crowned #ArtistOfTheSummer 2020.

And the station also won big. Over the course of the election poll, 96.5 (WTDY-FM) Philadelphia has gained more than 168,000 new followers on Twitter, garnered more than 17 million engagements on Twitter and Instagram, and gained immeasurable insights into their listeners and can optimize their content for exactly what their new audience enjoy.

With Social Listening, 96.5 (WTDY-FM) Philadelphia and Entercom are finding ways to go well beyond local markets and attract new fans around the world. And when it comes to choosing the right tool, it’s not a competition.

Create, manage and analyze your successful social media strategy with Sprout Social. Request your free demo today!

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