Both Twitter and Facebook cannot be ignored any more when talking about the World Wide Web. Thus are they surely to be considered when using the amazing internet tool as a journalist. Let’s now have a look at how to get the best of it!
The social networks, by the number of subscribers they gather, are a rich source of information, as well as an amazing showcase. Therefore, it can be used by journalists in a number of ways: to always be aware of what is going on and interesting people, to try to get people to give their opinion about a subject, to get some feedbacks about an article, or to extend one’s readership and number of followers. In the interest of being more accurate, I’ll focus here only on the use of Twitter and Facebook Here are the few tips you will need to be an efficient social network journalist!
Three things to know when using social networks as a source
1- Verification must without contest be your main concern when using social networks as a source. If social networks can often be much quicker than traditional Medias to provide a story, they cannot be trusted, and the journalist must look around to see if other users or legitimate sources providers can confirm the story.
2- You have to develop your own trusted network within social Medias. Getting the wider choice among a group of users you now are trustworthy is a powerful asset for a journalist using social networks.
3- You must be systematic when using social Medias as a source. By doing the same ritual times and times again, you will gain a more accurate judgment about what is said on social networks, and thereafter win a lot in efficiency.
Three things to know when using social networks to gather opinions
1- Think about your personal experience on social networks. In which circumstances would you give your opinion? Which kind of question would you actually answer and which kind you wouldn’t? It will give you a valuable clue to guess how to manage your audience and get the best of it.
2- Before looking after opinions, you have to decide if you want to get a number based statistic answer or rather a few interesting witnesses. You will get more answers with a question that can be answered only by “yes” or “no”, but an open question will often give you more information to deal with.
3- Create a debate. To give their opinion about a specific subject, people must feel concerned, disturbed, annoyed or enthusiasm. Therefore you should give a direction to your question, give something of yourself to push your followers to react. .
Three things to know when using social networks to get some feedbacks about one’s articles
1- Getting a lot of feedbacks can be dangerous for your website. If you want to advertise using social networks you will have to be ready to assume de consequences. I mean managing properly de comments posted on your page or website. Otherwise, spamming or provocative answers will quickly suffocate the debate.
2- Before advertising on social networks, you must be aware that everything you will post, included answers to readers, comments or random posts, will be considered as a part of your work and evaluated and criticize in this sense. There for having separates account for your private life and your job can be very useful.
3- Post pictures and videos to get attention. Even if your work is mainly based on writing, you will have to use pictures and videos. It will surely get you more feedback, and images are what modern internet journalism is all about.
Three things to know when using social networks to extend one’s readership
1- “Tweet your beat”, the advice was given by Lauren Invik, from the social medias specialized website marshable.com. If you want to get some authority on social networks and bring in something more than the millions of other users, you have to be a specialist. That means tweeting or publishing on Facebook only when you know exactly what you are talking about. Giving your opinion on random subjects is not a plan for a good social networks journalist.
2- Being a specialist also includes being among the first to get the news about your favorite subject. Therefore is it necessary to give to your audience more than your own stories. Using in a wise way the retweet or share opportunity will help you a lot while trying to please your followers and make your account attractive.
3- Link as much as possible your publications. The hashtag and the “@” button are crucial not only to reach a wider public, but also to show your sources and make your information safe and valuable. Websites like tagboard.com are based on the use of the “@” and de hashtag and often used by people to look for news about a specific subject.
So, fellow journalists, have you already been using successfully social Medias in your work? Would you add some advices to the previous shortlist? This article is meant to be updated and enhanced by your contribution!
More on the subject with this France 2 TV show about Twitter brodcasted in 2010