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Ecuador Radio Station Adds New Outreach Element: Social Media

February 1, 2016

(Feb. 1, 2016 - by Ralph Kurtenbach)  “For 365 days a year,” wrote an Ecuadorian newspaper reporter, “HCJB-2 offers varied programming, devotionals, messages of faith, music and prayer with Jesus Christ as the central character.”

The Guayaquil-based station was featured by the writer, Susana Landívar, in conjunction with the station’s 43rd anniversary in late 2015. The station, founded in 1972, recently added online accounts such as Facebook to its media mix. The results have been “phenomenal,” according to Reach Beyond missionary Doug Weber.

Graphic shows sharp increase in the organic reach to radio station HCJB-2 in March 2015.“It looks like it started in March [2015],” observed Weber as he pored over results he had compiled on the responses to posts. “March 1 was the first time they hit a million [per week] on their organic reach.”

In social media tallying, organic reach is attained without paying for circulation of one’s posts to others’ accounts. It might be compared to a bona fide grassroots movement; the posts are popular enough for interaction, including re-postings (called “shares”).

“To get really big reach numbers, you have to have a lot of people interacting with the content,” Weber explained. “They have to be sharing it, liking it, making comments … or clicking on it.”

Weber serves with Indiana-based SonSet Solutions (a Reach Beyond partner) where he strategizes for that mission’s presence on the Internet. His responsibilities include staying abreast of best practices for nonprofit agencies using new media as well as sidestepping the pitfalls suggested by self-proclaimed experts in social media. One falsehood, he said was “a myth early on [saying], ‘Hey, buy likes; buy likes for your page.’”

“I think that’s still a myth—that you can go out and buy likes,” he observed. Without subsequent interaction, a Facebook algorithm decreases the number of those seeing future posts, “so it can actually work against you” to purchase likes that are generated at what is called a “click farm.”

Facebook first narrowcasts a post to test its success. As Josh Constine of Techcrunch put it, “Essentially, everyone has to earn their space in [the Facebook] News Feed. If they publish posts that are interesting enough to get likes, comments, shares and clicks, their reach increases. If their posts bore people and are ignored and scrolled past by anyone who sees them, their reach decreases.”

Facebook has been filtering likes for their veracity. Bogus likes (some 200,000 between March and April 2015) were stripped from account holders’ pages. Facebook notified the account holders on how to gather authentic fans. “The warning [was] that Facebook can now block those fake likes before they appear on your page … so these [vendors] will not be able to hold up their end of the bargain if you decide to buy likes from them,” said Weber.

Paid advertising, however, may continue to drive up an account holder’s reach, but radio station HCJB-2’s reach “is all pretty much organic. So they’re not paying for their reach numbers,” Weber observed.

Much hoopla surrounds social media success stories, but HCJB-2’s results indicate the station’s longstanding community involvement and connection with Ecuadorians.

A photo on the station’s Facebook account, for example, shows an elderly woman seated with an HCJB-2 sign on her lap. Her legs are swollen, and a caption explains that she has “varicose ulcers in both legs and did not have a way to get help at a medical office or even get around at home. Now she is happy, thankful to God and the HCJB-2 radio family for having given her a wheelchair.”

Sitting near the woman, a man holds an HCJB-2 complimentary calendar with the tagline, “Together we can do more.”

Sources: Reach Beyond, facebook.rt.com, techcrunch.com




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