I’ve been working with a regional reporting team that is extremely enthusiastic about jumping into social media, but sees social media primarily as a broadcast tool – another place to put content. My goal has been to show them that there are so many more possibilities of how social media can benefit their work. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, using their dedicated accounts to push out content is probably one of the least valuable uses social media can be put to.
I created the document below to outline what I see as the three areas in which they can derive benefit from social media, and you may be able to tell from reading it my bias towards areas 1 and 2. I really wanted to emphasize how social media can help produce better content that is more engaging. If you start creating content that the audience feels connected to, either because they contributed to it or because they can see themselves in it, the promotion part largely takes care of itself.
I feel like this is a good general use strategy that would apply to most parts of VOA fairly well. It also pairs well with the social media workflow I shared previously, which we’re using for a radio news program. However, that’s not to say that this is a one-size-fits-all strategy; there’s no such thing.
You might notice immediately that this document doesn’t mention specific social media platforms. That is extremely intentional. I hear way too much talk about being on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube, and it’s clear no one’s thought about why they’re there. In my mind it’s much more important to get a handle on the goals you’re trying to achieve, and THEN decide what platforms work best to achieve them.
Maybe it’s not Facebook or Twitter at all, but a particular niche or regional social network or instead – or plain old email and text messages for the time being. The point is, the tools shouldn’t determine your strategy; your strategy should determine your tools.
Also, quite obviously not included here are metrics/performance evaluation, which are extremely important (how do you know if you’re reaching your goals if you don’t know how to measure them?), but felt too complicated and scary for the business of convincing skeptics.