Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to improve your social media presence

A few days ago, I ran into a tweet by my tweeps at our parent company, Journal Register Company, touting that the company's "social media efforts (are) outpacing some of nation's largest print publications."

It was a ranking of the top newspapers in the nation's Twitter followers, and it pretty much showed that some of our sister papers ranked better that some big national publications.

Alas, the Daily Freeman's Twitter account wasn't among them.

The blog Journalistics  had similarly posted a ranking of top newspapers' Facebook pages, and our own page would have ranked 25 among those surveyed, even though we're way smaller when it comes to circulation.

That got me thinking.

We're a small shop, and (spoiler alert!) our Facebook posts had generally consisted of tweets that were automatically posted on Facebook. Even though, as JRC Idealaber and awesome dog person Karen Workman pointed out during a social media training session, you don't want to just post just links, and that's pretty much what we've been doing.

So here's a problem. Our social media presence, thought somewhat strong, is not what it should be. I've tasked myself to at least triple our followers on Twitter, currently standing at 600, and to double our Facebook fans.

But how?

In my last post, I mentioned that a couple of our Storify posts were not from our tweets but from our users (that's you). When Billy Joel came to town, we did a story, sure, but I also went around social media to create a storyline using your very posts to create a timeline of his trajectory. When the Ulster County Jail was featured on "Ghost Hunters" and I found myself with no time to watch it or tweet it, I was able to curate a story using your posts.

Both of those stories amassed great interest. And Facebook, in October, was the second largest referrer to our site, surpassing AOL, Yahoo, and Bing, and second only after Google.

So using Karen's tips and fitting them to our newsroom capabilities, we're going to engage you in a more, er, engaging way.

My plan will also include highlighting our featured bloggers, so that they get some traffic and we get some too. We've already experimented with this with our staff blogs, and the traffic results are incredible.

As a side note, I should point out that unique visitors increased dramatically on my blog, just by posting my latest rambling as a latest update on the Freeman's site. So my plan is to increase our own traffic and that of our featured bloggers by highlighting their posts when they have something fresh.

Since I'm technically on vacation, I left the iPad and the Netbook in the newsroom, so our reporters can experiment with them and use them as  they see fit.

I'll let you know how we're doing. And, as always, feel free to tell me I'm a crazy person that should be institutionalized.