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GHS Newsroom
  • Engagement is key to realizing potential of social media

  • At GateHouse, we believe engagement through social media is key, and we discourage the use of automated feeds. Some of our most successful sites are seeing traffic referrals of up to 5 percent. Sure, these sites share headlines, but they also do callouts, engage readers and answer questions.

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  • Like newsrooms across the country, The New York Times continues to adjust its strategy for using social media.
    One big change the Times is considering is dropping the automatic feed of headlines to its Twitter account and aiming for "hardcore engagement" with readers, according to NYT social media editor Liz Heron. This post at lostremote.com summarizes some of the social media strategy changes the Times is considering, including a one-week experiment dropping a headline feed into Twitter.
    The post is based on a session Heron participated in at the BBC's Social Media Summit.
    More on Heron's comments from businessinsider.com: "The three goals for the social media platforms are to increase "user engagement and newsgathering on our main accounts," "amplifying our journalists' voice for those who are doing [social media] really well," and add a social media component to high-impact stories coming out of the newsroom like a Facebook chat when Osama bin Laden was killed."
    A quick scan through the Times' main Twitter account this morning shows some spurts of an editor's touch over the past week. But there is still a steady stream of headlines for the accounts 3.3 million followers. (One thing that may be encouraging the Times' study of its social media strategy is that fact that referrals from social media do not count against the Times' paywall setup.)
    But while the headline stream continues on the main news account, reporters and columnists are being more engaging on their individual accounts. Heron points to columnist Nicholas Kristof as one model.
    On the New York Times Facebook page, you see much more engagement, including a callout to fans asking their favorite Marilyn Monroe movie. (Yesterday was her birthday.) The callout got 1,137 likes and 259 comments in 12 hours.
    At GateHouse, we believe engagement through social media is key, and we discourage the use of automated feeds. Some of our most successful sites are seeing traffic referrals of up to 5 percent. Sure, these sites share headlines, but they also do callouts, engage readers and answer questions.
    The problem with feeding straight headlines, particularly into Facebook, is that it can become white noise. Social media is about engagement, and feeds cannot be engaging.
    You can learn more about our social media strategy in the GateHouse newsroom handbook.

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