Using social media first and foremost as a branding and engagement tool is key for reporters. Journalism professor at the University of Texas, Robert Quigley, provides the following social media tips for reporters.
- Don’t limit yourself to driving traffic: Driving traffic back to your news site is overemphasized as the justification for investing in social media — and that most days, traffic won’t be that noticeable, especially if you use platforms like Periscope, Snapchat or Instagram. Where traffic is lacking on an average news day, brand and community building is a critical part of establishing a loyal readership that more than justifies the time spent posting to social.
- Be a real person: When your followers look at your Twitter account, do they feel like they may as well be reading an RSS feed or ticker of news updates? If so, it may to time to re-evaluate your online persona — starting with remembering that you are a very real person. The online extensions of yourself should reflect this truth. For many, news consumption is a big part of social media. There’s a reason why these people choose to access their news through social channels rather than traditional ones: they want to be engaged while doing so.
- Don’t be discouraged if initially, it feels like you are talking to yourself: If you mainly treat your social accounts as a way to push out your own news content, and then randomly throw in a more conversational call for engagement, it’s unlikely that people will respond. Don’t give up if your first attempts at interacting with the greater social community don’t work out. It takes time to establish a voice for yourself on social media, and even more time for your followers to trust your voice.