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July 10, 2014 / Gina D.

Ways to up your game on Twitter, Facebook

podiumRecently, I was asked to give a little impromptu advice to a group of journalists who had recognized their team’s need to elevate their participation in social media, but were unsure what steps to take to do so most effectively. In recapping my suggestions, it occurred to me that what’s good for the few was probably just as well shared with the many, even if only to re-affirm fundamentals.
In general, current best practices for all forms of social media recommend posting images. It’s more commonly perpetuated in Facebook best practices, but it’s also helpful for Twitter, especially if your publication’s links don’t post a hed/blurb embed, or “card.”
Almost as if it were planned this way, DFM had a live-chat this a.m. about best Twitter practices for journalists, and seems to have played right into some of our discussion.
In terms of increasing reach on Twitter (Klout will kinda help you unofficially monitor that, as will Tweetreach), in addition to tagging individuals, I would encourage using topical hashtags (#immigration, #crime, #economy, hashtags corresponding with electoral districts, etc.). If you’re not sure what might work best, a useful tool to find hashtag trends or just hashtags in general, is twXplorer, a tool developed by Knight Lab.
For operations that struggle with time management (so basically everyone), I would also recommend everyone sharing access to any key accounts (wisely) in order to help perpetuate the stream of content and discussion there. Twitter is constant, and to make a dent there, you kinda have to be as constant a participant as possible. Seems daunting if not impossible, but if you share the effort and use Tweetdeck, managing all those accounts — and keeping yours active — will be a snap, especially since you can also use it to set up timers to deploy tweets strategically. (If you’re looking for a mobile version of a multi-Twitter app, since Tweetdeck doesn’t have a mobile version, Tweetbot is a good one. It’s not free, but it’s a good app, and well worth the few bucks, especially if you’re trying to manage multiple accounts on the fly.)
Speaking of strategic tweeting, there’s a tool called Buffer that you can plug your social accounts into that will help you identify what times are optimal for your account/s. It usually picks your four best times; obviously you would want to populate more than that. You can also use Buffer to time-deploy tweets, though I like Tweetdeck better for that purpose, personally.
And despite all the Twitter talk — and I definitely wouldn’t want to discourage that effort — it’s worth remembering that it’s not unusual for your publication to see much more engagement (and page views) from its Facebook audience.
Maintaining a Facebook page, too, can be a group effort in order to share the load — and allow different voices into the mix. Tagging and hashtagging apply there as well, though there are differing schools of thought out there about how useful either of those things actually are. My philosophy: It doesn’t take a lot of extra time to do it (especially if you’re taking advantage of the ability to time-deploy posts), and it at least offers potential for further reach, so… I’m a fan.
The other benefit to having posting ability is that it generally comes with access to your page’s Facebook metrics, too. It’s not the same as page views, and certainly doesn’t translate into such, but it’s never a bad idea to see what sorts of things are getting the most attention.
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