Journalists need social media, but probably not as much as social media needs journalists. Journalists — in any shape or fashion — have always been, and will continue to be, the disseminators of news. Journalists are the storytellers, the connectors between people to information. Social media has just become the best way to do that.
While everyone can have a blog, not everyone knows how to write. Even less people know how to report. And while everyone can have a Facebook or Twitter account, we also can’t expect everyone to be experts in social media, even if there are few steadfast rules to help people use Facebook and Twitter.
It’s even more important for journalists to know the ins and outs of how to use social media, because they’re not only responsible for their personal brands, but also for the name of the newspaper, blog, TV station or other media they represent. It only takes one minor slip-up to spiral into an all-out social media casualty, which could result in losing your job, like the Salt Lake City TV staff who mistook the company’s Twitter account for her personal account.
Thankfully, Facebook has stepped in to help journalists out. Following the release of the Facebook PR Page, the social network Goliath launched Facebook Media to help journalists “learn about best practices and tools to help you drive referral traffic, increase engagement, and deepen user insights on your site.”
It has journalist-specific information about how to set up and market your Facebook page, everything down to placement of the ‘Like’ button next to your byline and when to use ‘Recommend’ instead of Like. Facebook also doesn’t leave the media organizations’ project managers out of the loop, giving ways to increase your page’s engagement and activity, so your readers aren’t just connecting with a story, they’re connecting with the station.
Instead of just telling you how to do something, they weave examples of journalists and media organizations, from Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric to New York Times and CNN, doing just what they’re preaching. But if anything, it’s the best way to stay in tune to what’s working for other media organizations.
There are also companies sprouting up to help media organizations with social media strategy. One of those companies, SocialNewsDesk, gives newsrooms a custom-designed Facebook tab that’s suited to display real-time, breaking news and shareable stories from your website.
I’m a lover of all things journalism and social media, so when a company finds an intuitive way to merge the two, I’m sold. Kudos to Facebook for keeping things current.
What about you? Is Facebook Media a good way to for media organizations and journalists to get more interactive? Are you going to add its updates to your news feed?
Erin Everhart is the marketing associate for 352 Media Group, a web design company, where she specializes in social media marketing, search engine optimization and content management, working with some of the company’s most prominent clients. She’s also a freelance reporter for multiple newspapers and online sites and a frequent blogger. She holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida and has an unhealthy addiction to salt and EM dashes. Follow her on Twitter :: @erinever.