Secrets of Social Media CRMA 2011 Sean MussendenUniversity of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism
What I’m Going to Talk About Overview of why social media matters to news organizations Priorities in social networks Focus on Facebook – the most important platform for branding and distribution. Better for news orgs. Focus on Twitter – an emerging tool better suited for sourcing. Better for individual reporters. Beyond Twitter and Facebook – Stumble Upon, Reddit, YouTube. Questions
Why Social Media Matters “Living life online” increasingly means social networks Still in early stages. Search and destination Web sites still VERY important, but becoming less important.
Why Social Media Matters How people expect to get news is changing People are lazy and busy. Increasingly expect news to find them. Network of friends/followers and “the crowd” increasingly serve as “editors” that determine what people see. Trust. People more likely to read something suggested by a friend than a stranger.
Which Social Networks Matter? There’s Facebook…and everything else.
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Facebook best platform for news organizations. Less important that individual journalists have a presence – unless you’re really famous. Two things to consider: Facebook.com presence – fan pages, news feed. Integration of Facebook on your Web site.
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs It All Starts with the Fan Page
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs The Importance of Niche Pages Niche Page Examples Segment audience so they get only what they want Spreads responsibility for Facebook across organization Drawback – takes more staff time
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs The Pages Don’t Matter - Focus on the Feeds
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Everything from friends and fan pages* User studies: not looked at as often at Top News. Not the default view. Users have to take action to see it. Most valuable real estate on Facebook – “Boardwalk” User studies: most frequently visited part of Facebook. Algorithm – Facebook’s “Secret Sauce” – determines what shows up here. Your goal: get your content here. Most Recent Feed Top News Feed
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Algorithm tries to determine what users care about Most important factors: User’s previous interaction with that person/org. In this order: Share, Comment, Like. User’s friend network interacting with a given post. In this order: Share, Comment, Like. Secondary factors: High level of interaction from outside user’s friend network. Inclusion of links, photos and videos. Inside Facebook’s Secret Sauce
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs If you want people to see your content: You need to work to build a relationship. You need to post content that people want to talk about and that they want to share with their friends. You need to post content that includes pictures/video and links. Big Takeaway
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Lighter content tends to work better than “heavier” stuff. Don’t dump everything. Select for potential for virality. Must be things people would want to talk about. “Hey Mabel” stories. Engage the audience. Crowdsource Ask questions (NOT: “what do you think?”) Quizzes Stick to your niche. What kind of content is best on Facebook?
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Short, catchy blurbs Conversational tone Timing matters! Eye-catching photos and videos Adjust based on metrics Links: goal is always to drive people back to your site. Have to pay the bills. Remember: your competition is not just other media orgs, but pics of users’ grandkids. Writing Effectively for Facebook
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Important to give users the FB experience on your site. FacebookOpenGraph makes this easy – talk with your developers. Three basic levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Incorporate Facebook on Your Site
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Allow visitors to like individual pieces of content and share it with their network. Put in multiple locations. Allow visitors to become a fan/follow. Should be prominent on every page. Incorporate Facebook on Your Site - Beginners
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Show visitors what people in their network are reading/watching on your site. Incorporate Facebook on Your Site - Intermediate
Facebook Strategy for News Orgs Make recommendations based on Facebook reading habits. This will creep out some users. Integrate comment system. Incorporate Facebook on Your Site - Advanced
Twitter for Journalists More about relationships built around shared topical interest than friendships. Importance is growing, but not near Facebook level. Of all social networks, best sourcing and informational tool. Not as important for branding and distribution, but can drive traffic.
Twitter for Individual Journalists An amazing knowledge acquisition tool. “Mindcasting” - A lot of smart people who know more about the topics you care about than you, sharing their knowledge for free. “The People Formerly Known as the Audience.” – Jay Rosen Don’t be passive. Engage people you follow. Tap into the Wisdom of the Crowd
Twitter for Individual Journalists Start with a few smart people and mine the list of people they follow. Tools for finding new people: Twellow, Twibes, WeFollow, LocalTweeps, GeoChirp. Edit aggressively. Drop people who aren’t useful. Strategies for Building Your Twitter Network
Twitter for Individual Journalists Carve out a niche and stick to it. Write a short, catchy bio and include a picture. Insert yourself into discussions. Engage with other users who share similar interests. Court the big influencers in your topic area. A RT from someone with 100K followers better than someone with 100 followers. Tweet regularly. More tweets = more opportunities for new followers. Building a Brand on Twitter
Twitter for Individual Journalists Provide useful information. Not what you had for breakfast. Don't just shill your work. Link to the work of others. Links, links, links. Use a URL shortener (i.e. Bit.ly). Use #hashtags. Good way to attract new followers. Leave approx. 20 characters out of 140 for RTs. Abbreviate, within reason. Timing matters! Writing Effective Tweets
Beyond Facebook and Twitter Can be a huge traffic driver to sites if a story gets legs. Directs people to “best of the Web.” Important to submit your content. Important to make it easy for people to share your content on the network. StumbleUpon
Beyond Facebook and Twitter Extremely active social community built around thousands of topical channels When Digg died, it got bigger Important to make it easy for people to share your content on Reddit. Reddit
About Sean Mussenden On faculty at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism Focus on intersection of social media and news and multimedia news production Former newspaper reporter, multimedia journalist and Web editor Consultant who has helped several news orgs improve social media strategy Twitter: @smussenden Facebook: /sean.mussenden firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Cell: 202-590-2190 Slides from this presentation available About Sean Contact Info