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Social media tips, best practices and ideas
Tell readers why they should 'like' your Facebook page
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By David Arkin
Penny Riordan manages digital content partnerships for GateHouse Media. She works out of the Center for News and Design in Austin. Prior to joining the company, she worked at Patch.com for four years, where she led social media, blogging and UGC ...
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Social Media Blog
Penny Riordan manages digital content partnerships for GateHouse Media. She works out of the Center for News and Design in Austin. Prior to joining the company, she worked at Patch.com for four years, where she led social media, blogging and UGC efforts for the company. She also launched a Patch site in Maryland. Penny has also worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Maryland and Connecticut.
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Nov. 28, 2011 12:01 a.m.

Why should readers "like" you on Facebook?

I'm sure editors have many good reasons. 1) Quality content. 2) Opportunities to share content. 3) Voting on polls. 4) Great galleries and videos.

Those things are likely all true, but how does a single reader know that you have any of those features? They may assume some of those things, but they really don't know that any of that content is on your Facebook page, because the way most newspapers promote their Facebook page is by a simple "Follow us on Facebook" icon in their print product or just a link in navigation to their page.

Based on the number of fans on our Facebook pages, just putting a link out there or a "follow us" promotion has worked. However, there's more we can do to raise our profile and get more Facebookers to participate with our pages.

Get specific.

Opposed to just telling folks to follow you, tell them why they should follow you. Here are a few ideas:

1. Even in your most static promo, remind readers what kind of content you offer: News of the day, opinions, entertainment news, polls, videos and more. This at least puts a little context behind what you offer.

2. Feature a comment from something you posted the day before and say something like this: "Follow us on Facebook and see why Sally Jones said the strawberry festival is a must see."

3. Feature two or three stories or engagement opportunities you offered readers the day before in a promotion like this: "If you 'liked' our Facebook page you could have read how readers reacted to the governor's veto and West High School's big football win."

Online, you could post a Facebook story with highlights from my No. 2 and 3 examples, to your carousel or top stories. And if you offer a link in your navigation, have it go to a story page where you explain the kind of content you offer, with a link to the Facebook page.

The point is, static teasers, after a while, lose their luster and become wall paper. To continually increase our Facebook audiences, we have to get dynamic.

David Arkin is the executive director of the News & Interactive Division for GateHouse Media. Contact him at darkin@gatehousemedia.com

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