Social media is not going away, but what good is it if you don’t truly connect with viewers? Some broadcasters use it well. Others do not. Stations and some networks run the gamut from good to bad to almost nonexistent. Social media is the current frontier. Companies are experimenting and playing by their own rules. However, some beliefs are generally accepted:
- There is still no accurate way to measure whether social media efforts drive viewership. That must change.
- According to a recent Nielsen study, most viewers discover new programs by word of mouth. Social media is an important form of communication for millions of people. All those posts and tweets are the virtual equivalent of word of mouth.
- Facebook is generally best used to establish relationships.
- Twitter is great for disseminating information.
So here are some quick tips on how to use social media:
- In rush hour, traffic and weather are critical and should be updated constantly.
- Regardless of the time of day, posts and tweets must be engaging. Okay, that is a firm grasp on the obvious. However, there are too many posts and tweets about stories that affect a very limited number of people. Many are about local crimes. Some are about irrelevant national and international stories. Some examples:
- The euro inflation rate
- Layoffs at foreign airlines that few Americans fly
- Some posts and tweets are real turn-offs. Personally, I do not want to read about a sick individual who killed and cooked his girlfriend’s dog and then fed it to her.
- Great posts and tweets are similar to extremely well written teases. They not only touch a reader’s intellect, they also evoke an emotional response.
- Some of the most effective and engaging Facebook posts have nothing to do with news. They give you an insight into who an anchor or reporter really is. One major market anchor posted a cute picture of her daughter waiting for a school bus on the first day of class. She wrote about how proud she was of her daughter. It made the average reader see this anchor as not only a newscaster but a mother with a warm heart.
- Great posts and tweets are timely. If a station’s last tweet was 4 or 6 hours ago, the station is not in the news business. It is the History Channel.
While all of this sounds simple, it takes work and management supervision. Very few stations deliver on a consistent basis. If you want to see some best practices check out NBC4 LA, WABC and WSB.