Social Media Has The Word “Social” In It For A Reason

You would think I wouldn’t have to express the importance of social media for journalists… Alas, many still don’t understand how vital it is in this day and age for reporters and publications to take advantage of these outlets.

A few weeks back, I was at a student journalism conference. There were several different sessions we could go to to learn more about our industry. The sessions were held by different professionals in the field. At one of the sessions I went to, a woman who had been with her publication for a couple of decades, kept discussing with us how many of the reporters and editors at her weekly paper refused to use any kind of social media. She was one of them until she discovered how to use Twitter and how it helped promote her content.

Today, with the tons of people that use social media, it only makes sense for use to take advantage of the large audience we can promote our content to. I found a good post for Social Media Sun on how to promote your writing on social media sites. The author covers some good ways to use Twitter and Facebook among the other outlets to get your work out there.

Find a good name and brand for yourself
In the article, the writer makes a good point that the name you use for your account on the site must be professional. She says:

Cutesy screen names like “writerchick” or “writes4cash” may sound witty but they reek of 90s chat room vibes.

So, though you should create something that expresses your personality, it should be professional too. You also need to brand yourself and create a voice that you use so people can identify with you and have a feeling of who you are. Your readers will be more able to feel connected with you if you have a strong personal voice.

Be social!
Sure, you’re on these sites to promote yourself and your work, but you don’t and cannot be a spammer! No one likes things being shoved down their throats. It just doesn’t work that way.

You’ve got to be social on these social media sites. Yes, post the link to what you want to put out there and a quick statement on what it’s about. But don’t let that be the only thing you post. Keep your friends and followers updated with what you’re doing. Take photos of things that are related to your brand and your life. Things you’d use for your regular personal social page you can do similar things for your “professional” one. I like to post pictures of adorable animals, personally =p

Know the medium you’re using
Twitter works differently than Facebook which works differently than LinkedIn which is different than Pinterest and so on. You’ve got to learn how people use these different social media sites and then tailor how you sell your content to that audience. Twitter, for example, is a scanning social media site. People briefly scroll through tweets and based on that determine if they want to click or not. So you’ve got to be brief with Twitter… as I’ve said in a previous post.

Keep with it!
This is something I struggle with the most: balancing my time management to keep up with my long list of assignments and still managing to be social with these sites. But it’s something you’ve got to do. You can’t neglect your accounts because without them, you’re really not going to get the views you want and need for your work

Also, you gotta stay up to date with the ever changing formats. The sites we have now always update their layout and how you use them. Not only that, new social media sites pop up all the time and you can’t be afraid to grab the keyboard with both hands and jump in! It’s part of your job description to stay up to day, so just do it!

Alrighty, now you have it. I’ve told you now, and I won’t tell you again: use dem social media sites boiiiiii!

-Haley L.

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