Being on Facebook is a bit like going to prom. Everyone’s going; no one is quite sure what to do when they get there. And while newsrooms have a huge advantage when it comes to building a Facebook following, very few stations truly have a defined idea of what they hope to gain from those users. Here are 8 tried and true ways to make sure your newsroom is getting the most out of each and every fan.
1. Always Include a Link: Posting a news update without a link to your website just invites your fans to go elsewhere to find the whole story. By posting a link to the story on your website, you’ll get more interaction and more clicks.
2. Ask Questions: According to Facebook, status updates that ask simple questions or encourage a user to “Like” the story have 2-3x the activity. This means 2-3x the chance for clicks to your website.
3. Post Every 2 Hours: Studies suggest newsrooms should post to Facebook once every 2 hours unless there’s major breaking news. NPR even conducted a survey of their fans to find out the best frequency for posting to Facebook. Their survey and others suggest posting too often or too infrequently both result in a loss of fans.
4. Best Times to Post: Weekdays at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m. are peak times on Facebook. Make sure you’re hitting all of those times so your story gets found.
5. Post Provocative, Passionate Debates: This content gets 2-3x more interaction on Facebook. Take advantage of it, and make your Facebook page a forum for debate.
6. Don’t Forget Sports: Important sports game wins get 1.5-2x more interaction from fans on Facebook. Need some help writing the post? Check out these 5 Ways Your Newsroom Can Write Winning Sports Posts on Facebook.
7. Read and Respond: Try to read and respond to posts and comments on your Facebook page at least twice per shift. Look for story ideas, questions, and feedback.
8. Try a Social Media Management Tool: There are several free tools out there to help manage your Facebook interaction, but they’re all designed for the general population. Or you can check out the newsroom social media manager, SocialNewsDesk. SND was created — in the interest of full disclosure: I am the founder of SND — specifically for newsrooms and includes features like “post later”, “spell check”, “frequency manager”, “comment manager,” and “quick post” to make your social media management faster, simpler and more effective.
Social media doesn’t have to be just another drain on your newsroom’s already limited time. It can be one of the most effective story-sourcing resources you have. And if used correctly, it can send thousands of page views to your website. So go ahead, put on your prom dress and make it work.
What do you think? What are some other best practices for newsrooms to get the most out of Facebook?