Tag Archives: Facebook

Getting Started on Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest or Any Platform (the Nike Secret)

The shortest and probably most effective social media workshop I presented was for local reporters in Westchester County, N.Y.

Each reporter covered one or two towns, and each town had a local news site, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

It took three minutes:

1. Open laptops.

2. Go to your town Facebook page.

3. Type in a question (“what should we be covering in town?”) or make a comment (“meeting with editors today to talk about story ideas”).

4. Hit “enter.”

Just Do It. The lesson from the Nike ad applies to journalists who encounter new digital tools and new daily workflows.

The simple act of doing it helped each of us become more familiar with the tools we all hope to master to be better journalists. Each of us is new to something. A few months ago, I had never used Storify. Two weeks ago, I had never used Pinterest. The first time I live-blogged a speech, it was an experiment for me — a live blog of the 2010 State of the Union. While it was an important speech for the president, it was not a core assignment for Forbes.com, the business news site where I was managing editor. In a very important sense, it was my place to experiment and learn.

Every week I hear from journalists who want to improve their skills, who are  neophytes at something. It’s common to meet a reporter who expresses some variation of these two worries:  a) how do I learn this new tool and b) should I live tweet a boring meeting.

Yes, live tweet that boring meeting and use it to learn about Twitter. Live blog that routine lacrosse practice, and you’ll learn your way around the blogging software.

This stuff won’t show up on the homepage — it doesn’t diminish your name or the media brand. Make your mistakes when few people are paying attention. You’ll be more confident when you go to the murder trial. You’ll be ready for the school shooting or the deadly storm.

There is an even more basic way to start that doesn’t involve the dull meeting or routine sports practice. Start by asking a question that’s on your mind: What’s going on? What should I be reading? What’s happening tomorrow?

As you start on a new digital platform, there may be no audience and no response. Keep going. Ask everyday questions — what are you doing this weekend? did you see Venus last night? what’s your secret deer repellent recipe? It builds familiarity and steadily builds community. Then the community will be there when you need to say — who can join the shovel brigade at the Bar & Grill? Who can fill sandbags?



Filed under Social networking, User-generated content

Living Legends, Lessons From a Postal Stamp Prompt

Who in your area should be on a stamp?

What's the point of of questioning the audience? In your newsroom, when you ask a question across your site and social media platforms, do you have a metric for success? Is it 20 responses? 200? Somewhere in between? 

Do you know what brings more responses — time of day, wording of question, amplification by repeating across platforms? Is someone in charge of keeping track of what works and what doesn't and issuing guidance?

If you typically ask one question a day and generate 100 comments or responses a week, what can you do to increase that by a factor of 10? Who in the newsroom has suggestions for steps to take that might make that much of a difference?

Asking a question is not a resource issue — it takes two minutes to go to Facebook and ask "what should we cover today?" or "how are we doing?" 

It does take a few more minutes to monitor your activity and make adjustments so that week by week you engage more readers.

The Objective A highly engaged audience that is regularly creating content, a newsroom that initiates discussion, readers who react to news by spending time with your brand. 

Measures of Success Comments, likes, clicks, page views, new questions, discussion threads — and journalists who repurpose those discussions into articles or posts for a website or a print product.

Who's doing it well? Here's some evidence from a postal prompt about what works and what doesn't. If you have not asked a "who should be on a stamp" question, today is a good day. (Short url's included to ease sharing.)

The Indianapolis Star in one day had 17 Facebook likes and about 80 comments on a survey: who from Indiana should be on a stamp? Who will it be? Time for Indiana living legend on postage stamp | indystar.com http://bit.ly/nD5tYm Note the large photo of a favorite son.

The AP asked on Facebook and received 96 comments in the first day: http://on.fb.me/potHOi They amplified the request with a Twitter prompt that did two important things: directed people to Facebook and seeded the question with some possible answers from top names trending on Google search: Twitter / @AP: Interesting ideas of who belongs on a stamp — Wangari Maathai? Chuck Norris? — are on our Facebook page http://bit.ly/oBJFIAThe AP tweet to 500,000 followers had two dozen retweets: https://bitly.com/potHOi+

The Tennessean asked on its site and across social media feeds for local living legends worth featuring on a stamp. From the managing editor's Twitter feed @megdowney: I vote John Seigenthaler. @Tennessean. Which living TN legend would you want to see on a stamp? http://t.co/FQYiUpmI

Seeding the conversation with a few names seems to work. The Des Moines Register drew 50 comments on Facebook on the first day with this prompt:What living Iowan should be on a stamp? The U.S. Postal Service has changed the rules to allow living people to be honored on postage stamps. So — who would be your Iowa choice? (Around the newsroom, suggestions included Hayden Fry, Slipknot, Fred Hoiberg, Shawn Johnson and Captain James T. Kirk.)  http://on.fb.me/nrxUyi

A post on the Register's site had a bold call out asking readers to go to the Facebook page to answer: Who do you think should be first living Iowan on a stamp? | DesMoinesRegister.com http://bit.ly/pkeFDu

Lauren Wilbert List, a community producer for the Times-Picayune website, Nola.com, received more than 20 comments when she asked the question: Which living person would you like to see on a stamp?  http://bit.ly/oakFyw

The LA Times fashion writer set up a survey: Poll: Which living face of fashion belongs on a U.S. stamp? – latimes.com http://lat.ms/nMFfTf

There were 89 comments in a day and a half on this Florida news site, and note that the writer included an email address for readers who wanted to add a suggestion without leaving a comment. Does that mean there will be a followup? What living American would you like to see on a stamp? Let us know – St. Petersburg Times http://bit.ly/p4ll6k

How many news organizations will do more than just collect a few comments? The Postal Service is inviting official submissions. Here are the official stamp criteria from the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee http://bit.ly/nfjDx4

This is an opportunity to keep the conversation going, to solicit a list of names, to put out a poll, to narrow the list to the top five, to formally submit the names on behalf of your audience, and to report back the status of the request. The requests can be segmented by geography or topic area: who would be your metro area choice? your state choice? who would be your choice from among local sports stars? fashion stars? business stars? civic leaders? entertainers?

Each one of those points is an opportunity for deeper audience engagement. 

What is working for you? 

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Filed under Business models, Crowd sourcing, Social networking, User-generated content

Facebook Friday: Tips for Editors and Reporters

Facebook changes The FB world changed this week for you and your readers. The changes are a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to fully understand how to use the extended tool set to serve your community. The immediate opportunity is to be the trusted guide for your readers as they work to understand the changes.

Here are a few tips on some of the new features and on some tried and true tactics for encouraging reader interaction on your page. Short url's include to ease sharing.

Reassurance One of the best comments I saw was not from a media brand, but from a solar power company that I follow because our son Carter works there: @StionSolar tweeted this note about FB:

Facebook has changed it up again, but don't worry the Stion Solar facebook page is still there- check it out http://on.fb.me/nqg8eG

Have you sent a similarly reassuring message to your readers?

How are we doing? A good prompt is a simple prompt: What can we do better to help you? See this from The Daily Pelham: http://on.fb.me/qxriOT Put it on a schedule that works for you — once a week, once a month — and keep asking. When readers know the door is open, they will enter the room and join the conversation.

Music, Timeline, More Mashable, the social media news site, posted this guide on Thursday: Facebook Changes Again: Everything You Need To Know http://on.mash.to/pZdBOr

Facebook Poll Do you readers like the changes or hate them? Facebook's journalism program manager posted his own poll: http://on.fb.me/qyFiTL Pay tribute to Vadim and run a poll on your Facebook page.

Sports results 46 likes on a Saturday night? Upbeat or downcast, sports news rings reader bells. From the Morning Call, a FB prompt that drew immediate response: The Phillies have captured their fifth straight NL East title with 9-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. More soon at mcall.com!  http://on.fb.me/rf9alL

History prompt Do you know an interesting tip about Wilton's past?  http://on.fb.me/rpR3uS

Local dining We want your pizza stories and memories http://on.fb.me/paFvEC

Subscribe? Will my fans still "like" me? A quick guide to what it means to subscribe to a Facebook feed, along with a list of people and blogs providing strong news coverage through their Facebook feeds: Want to keep up… http://on.fb.me/ptnqqI

You can compile lists of people you follow, grouped in various categories. Facebook explains: Creating a Subscriptions List  http://on.fb.me/obdFGj

Beyond FB: Jobs Many newsrooms are smaller. Many media company tech shops are growing. To build a career you should know the basics of journalism — verification, accuracy, clarity. To build a brand, more media executives realize you also need developers. See these postings: News Developer Jobs – Google Docs http://bit.ly/qdG7w5

Is your company building these teams? How can you make sure your brand isn't left behind?


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Facebook Tips for Newsrooms

Do you mange a Facebook page for your newsroom? FB explains in this video how to post updates from a mobile deviceUpdating Your Facebook Pages via Facebook Mobile.

Facebook is a conversation platform, not just a distribution platform. Many news sites post links. The sites that ask questions, use FB for reporting, and respond to comments are building community even faster.

What prompts or content attract reader engagement on Facebook? What topics do well? Local geography consistently attracts readers. 

Did you know …? or Where is this … ? features in print, on a site and on Facebook will stir discussion.
Example: From the CantonRep.com page on Facebook, a short post about a slice of history that sits on a main street in a nearby town, the house where Edison courted the woman who became his second wife (he taught her Morse code so they could communicate in secret): five likes, one comment.
Example: Where is this clock? (TheDailyPelham).

We want to meet you

Announce regular office hours in a neighborhood coffee shop:
Use a Facebook poll to ask readers if they will come to a local fair (and visit your booth)

Spot traffic news

Facebook comment update: Users on pages that use Facebook markup language for a FB module will be able to comment more easily:  http://on.fb.me/qJngWj

From Vadim Lavruski of FB: "The dialogue box that enables a user to add a comment to their Like on a site is now sticky. Before it only appeared if you hovered over the button. This means it will be easier for users to add an additional comment to their Like."

Who to follow?

More tips available from Columbia J-school's Sree Sreenivasan's page, including this list of 10 signs you are becoming a Facebook addict.


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