What does your social media strategy say about your publication?
By Megan Fromm, CJE
Today’s student journalists are increasingly taking to social media to promote their work and network with other publications.
However, many scholastic publications do not have a social media strategy that is both ethical and effective.
We’ve covered the basics of an ethical social media policy, and I would encourage students to take this policy one step further by asking: what does your social media strategy say about your publication?
In other words, students should consider whether their social media strategy—across all platforms—reflects the kind of publication they aim to be. Of course, social media should be used both legally and ethically, but the totality of a publication’s social media presence should also represent the best of that publication.
Try this: Consider what might happen if a reader “met” your publication only through social media. Would they think your media is all sports, all the time? Would they believe your media was highly visual and interactive? Would they find easy ways to connect with or reach out to your staff and become part of the process?
Take, for example, what the Instagram and Facebook feeds of our presidential candidates currently convey about their campaigns. Taken together, these social media channels actual portray different or diverse sides of candidates that we might not otherwise experience via traditional, more journalistic platforms.
When used effectively, social media can help your audience see a side of your student media that often remains hidden. So, consider the various ways (beyond simply pushing content) that you can use these platforms: to connect with readers on a more personal level, to help your audience see the personalities and dynamics behind the scenes, or even to establish a level of authenticity in the process of journalism by bringing readers and viewers along for the ride.
Before posting, consider these questions:
- What part of the process can we share to help our audience become more invested?
- How can we show the personality of our staff and publication without being self-aggrandizing?
- Which social media platforms are best for communicating different messages?