Recent studies have shown that people aren’t flocking to social media sites to feed their daily news habits. Seems they’re trained to go straight to news websites. That’s contradictory to what the hype has been for years. But, when it comes to breaking news, that’s another story.
So, if people aren’t looking to media outlets to provide daily news on social media, what are they looking for? In a word, community. Social media offers readers and viewers a place to connect deeper with the news of the day.
The following tips will help you grow that community and how to use it to your advantage.
1. Be the talk of the town
Media outlets have the opportunity to be the place to discuss what’s going on in the world.
Your thoughts? In most cases, you’ll have to get the conversation going. That can be done easily by posting a link to a story you’ve published or by simply asking followers where they stand on an issue making local, state or national headlines.
Not only does this get people personally involved with your social media site, it can also drive traffic to your website.
Share their stories: Invite your followers to share what’s happening in their lives. Encourage posts of pictures or community events in the works. Not all news has to be generated by you. An added bonus is that people will feel you care about what’s happening in your coverage area, which can result in brand loyalty.
2. Make them part of the action
Ever noticed how cop cars and fire trucks tend to draw a crowd? That’s because people are inherently nosey.
The inside scoop: Journalists know what’s happening, and that’s something most everyone wants to know. So, social media sites provide a great way for news outlets to let their readers/viewers in on the action.
Got a reporter headed out to an accident? Drama in the courtroom at a murder trial? Tell people about it as it’s happening. A quick post will make your followers feel like they’re part of the “cool crowd.”
Go viral: It’s these types of posts that friends will quickly share with others because they know it’s information they aren’t going to get anywhere else.
If you make these types of in-the-know posts regularly, you’ll train people to look to you first. Sites that have mastered this have found that readers will post on their walls seeking information about an accident they saw on the way home or rumors they heard of a shooting, etc.
3. Listen and learn
Once you’ve cultivated an environment that’s thriving with reader participation, listen to what’s being said.
News tips: As people are talking about news stories you’ve posted or things they’ve witnessed, you now have a source of very valuable information. News outlets can’t be everywhere, so it’s wise to embrace this fresh supply of eyes and ears on the streets.
Don’t forget to thank them for their news tips. It’ll keep them coming back.
Gauge reader interest: Paying attention to what sparks conversation – and what doesn’t – gives you an insight into what people find interesting. If you post a link to a story that you plan to play big in your nightly news production or printed publication and it gets little to no response, you should consider rethinking your strategy. The response should not be the sole indicator of interest, but it should certainly play a role in the discussion.
All this can help produce a better daily product. And isn’t that the real goal anyway?
Thanks for reading,