October 1st, 2011 | 1 Comment
Facebook and Twitter are like cats and dogs. Most people favor one or the other. That’s what Lisa Williams, CEO and founder of Placeblogger.com, theorized during a workshop on social media at the 2011 Block by Block Community News Summit on Friday. Whether they’re Facebook fanatics or Twitter fiends, however, many news consumers use some kind of social networking platform. And those networks can—in Williams’ words—serve as a “gateway drug” to audience engagement for locally focused news sites.
Williams and the journalists who attended her Block by Block session agreed that navigating the world of social media isn’t just about creating Twitter and Facebook accounts and churning out links to content on your site. If you want to really get your audience involved, you should employ strategies like posting thumbnails or teasing readers with questions.
Jeff Sonderman’s Poynter article “New Facebook data shows 7 keys to maximum engagement for journalists” suggests those approaches and other tips, such as considering when you make posts. Facebook shows the most user activity from 7 to 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and 4 to 5 p.m. Timing your social media posts correctly can increase the amount of feedback you get from your readers.
Don’t want to interrupt your daily workflow to send out Facebook and Twitter updates? Williams and other conference attendees shared recommendations for tools that you can set to make posts for you at scheduled times. Here are a few handy posting platforms:
- Socialize Your Cause (for non-profits)
In addition to posting throughout the day, Williams suggested taking a personal approach to social media instead of simply issuing proclamations like some kind of omnipotent news deity. Comment on your readers’ posts and tag them in your updates. You’ll create a stronger connection with your readers, and they will become more engaged with and interested in your site.
Overall, social media platforms offer an invaluable opportunity for local news makers to connect with their readers and to bring those readers together. As Williams said, you know you have truly formed a community when people come to your site not just to give feedback to the reporters but also to talk to each other.
Written by Helen Adamopoulos
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