Radio: The Original Social Influencer


The term social influencer has gained traction within the last few years, with searches for “influencer marketing” on Google increasing 325% throughout 2017. Why is this happening? Consumers trust social influencers, and they deliver authentic communication and offer additional ways for brands to reach their target audience.

But while this concept is just starting to catch on in the online space, social influencers are nothing new. Radio DJs are the first and true social influencers, as brands have traditionally used radio personalities and DJs to get the word out to their target audiences.

Radio DJs: The Pioneers of Influencer Marketing

Radio DJs emerged during the “golden age” of Top 40 radio, from approximately 1955 to 1975. They would play individual songs while voicing announcements, introductions, comments, jokes, and commercials in between songs. During this time, they also began to exert significant influence on popular music due to their ability to introduce new music and control which songs made it to the airwaves. This influence eventually translated into other areas, as radio DJs began to solicit paying sponsors and even writing and delivering their own commercials.

Despite the rise of the social media influencer, radio DJs still hold powerful influence over their audience. In fact, 56% of radio listeners state that on-air talent is the main reason they tune in, while 37% feel that radio DJs add to the enjoyment of the music. Radio influencers also connect with their audience in many ways. From music to community affairs, listeners can tune into meaningful discussions, offer their opinion and continue conversations off the air. They also spark emotion – making people laugh and think – and they’re considered opinion leaders people come to know and trust.

Using Radio DJs for Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Not surprising, marketers today tap into this influence to increase the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. Radio DJs can be leveraged to deliver authentic endorsements, host in-person events and provide live reads to help brands reach loyal and engaged audiences. Even more, their influence extends off the air, as many radio DJs also serve as brand ambassadors on social media and in the community.

For example, Chicago Home and Garden Company partnered with 100.3 WSHE to improve sales, strengthen its partnerships and earn better shelf space at partner stores. One of the station’s hosts served as an ambassador for them on-air, on social media and at their events. And as a result, the company was able to boost brand recognition and drive sales at specific store locations.

Social Influencers Make the Difference

Social influencers can play an instrumental role in your marketing strategy. Radio DJs, in particular, were the original social influencers, and still have a strong presence in this space. They reach large audiences, have strong ties to the community and are seen as celebrities in their own right. If you are considering an influencer marketing campaign, leveraging the power of a radio DJ may be a key factor to your success.

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