In December, I had a chance to spend the afternoon talking about the news and social media with the staff at WEYI, NBC 25. After I left the meeting I spent a lot of time thinking about the point where Social Media and Traditional Media intersect and how to integrate new techniques into a successful format.
My Top 6 Tips:
- Create a hierarchy/Flow Chart of news importance and Direction.
TV news is one of the most limited formats since a broadcast may have as little as 20 minutes of air time per 30 minute show. Not every tip, press release or AP story can be covered in this amount of time. However, news that doesn’t make a the broadcast should be directed elsewhere. Creating a flow-cart or other formula for deciding, before hand, what information should be shared, and where, gives reporters an opportunity to engage the audience more often.
- Twitter has the highest volume but the fewest characters allowed, and should be used for snips, teasers or as a directional service getting followers to visit videos, on-scene cell-phone pictures captured by reporters or other websites where they can interact with the news you’re reporting.
- Facebook & Google Plus don’t have the tight character limits that Twitter does but since your fan’s home page feed doesn’t move as quickly, posting too often can be overwhelming. Weather maps, Follow-ups and viewer-to-viewer based communities can boost station loyalty.
- YouTube. Posting segments after they’ve aired is a great way to keep people talking and gives you a way to gauge response. People also like seeing themselves in the news and Youtube offers a way for broadcasts to be shared or included in blogs. Youtube can even generate revenue for the station.
- You have to give to get.
Traditional media tends to push out information, but Social Media demands interaction. The easiest way to interact is by Following-Back and replying… within reason.Take time to look at your followers and a few of their posts. There are a lot of useless and undesirable accounts that will only bog down your efforts. A DNFTT (do not feed the trolls) policy wouldn’t hurt either.
- Cover more Local businesses and Not-for-Profits.
Being neighborly and engaged locally is a great way to increase station loyalty across all media outlets. This can be as simple as following and sharing or re-tweeting informational posts. Showing people who are working hard to better the community also counters negative news and illuminates bright spots. Directing fluff pieces to social networks also saves air time for more serious news.
- Create custom Twitter and Google Plus Hash Tags.
Information overload is the side effect of social media success. At a certain point it’s just not possible for a human to consume every post your followers, prominent citizens and organizations create. Creating the Hash Tag is as simple as choosing a word or phrase (without spaces or other special charters) and adding the pound sign to the front. For Example – #MINewsTip. Just be sure to search using your potential tag first to be sure it’s unique enough to lay claim to it. Then search for the tag to gather your tips, comments and relevant information.
- Create a Social Loop
All of the social networks you’re using should feed into one another. Tweets that send people to YouTube, Facebook, your website and then back again are part of a interaction loop you should strive to create. Creating content across the various formats also allows you to interact with people who use Facebook, but not Twitter, etc.
- Use Feedback on the air.
Don’t forget to include air time in the social loop because it’s the one thing you have that Social Media doesn’t. Viewers who are empowered to comment and rewarded with air time are more likely to develop a deep loyalty to the station.