(Originally posted on Dec. 28, 2010)
Poynter.org turns a spotlight today on a smallish TV station in Arkansas (it’s in the 180th ranked market) that has managed to gather nearly 20,000 Facebook fans. The news director offers four suggestions for news organizations to improve their social media presence (all of which should by now sound familiar):
1. Get everyone involved. Use the expertise in the room. Almost everyone in the 40-person KAIT newsroom has taken on a role in publishing online or on social media, from the news director himself to part-time studio camera operators. Producers, weather staff and newsroom managers are the most consistent contributors.
2. At a minimum, post items four or five hours before the news begins to push to the newscast, “but if you’re going to do it right you need to be there all the time, especially for breaking news and weather events.” Mid-morning, a poll — often related to local news — goes up on the station’s website and on Facebook, and often gets about 75 comments. The early evening newscasts at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. include website, Twitter and Facebook comments at least a couple times a week, as does the 10 p.m. newscast.
3. Find an internal social media guru, and let that person lead the charge. Ryan Vaughan, the station’s chief meteorologist, has embraced social media but has also told others in the building to run with it and see what they could figure out. New employees get training in KAIT’s three-screen approach (TV, Web, mobile).
4. Make sure your website is updated often and the stories also get shared on the appropriate social media. “If we think it’s something that’s going to get passed around, it goes to Twitter; if it’s going to get commented on, it goes to Facebook.”