See the original post on Beyond Bylines.
The media landscape is constantly changing and journalists and bloggers are learning how to adapt to more social media platforms than ever before. With COVID-19 keeping most people home, social media has become a big(ger) part of most people’s lives and also a news source for many.
According to data from Pew Research, around 48% of Americans got their news from social media in 2021. Facebook ranked as the #1 platform from where many claimed to get their news. This shift in accessing news has changed social media — just about every social platform has a news section for its users.
Although social media is a popular news platform, it does leave room for a lot of misinformation. With fake news and a lack of trust in the media still prominent concerns for the public, how do you build your brand as a journalist that the public can trust?
How to Build a Trusted Social Media Brand
Below is a breakdown of five easy ways to build your social media brand as a journalist and be a credible source for up-to-date news.
1. Be Professional
As a journalist, you are sought after as a source of news and your audience expects you to report on it accurately. Whether you’re a well-known journalist or new to the industry, you want your audience to be able to come back to your social media profile for news because they trust you. Part of building your audience is being professional and objective. Remember, your audience is made up of people with different beliefs and backgrounds, so keeping your personal views or opinions out of your professional social media accounts is crucial (though this has recently become a topic of debate - so know the rules in your newsroom).
2. Be Consistent
Between running to breaking news, conducting interviews, and writing stories and scripts, we know you have a lot on your plate as a journalist. But if you want to build your social media brand, it is important to stay consistent with your social platforms. Since there aren't 10 of you to keep every social media platform updated up to the minute, pick your favorite platform (or even better - the one your audience uses most) and build from there. Whatever story you’re covering day to day, let your audience know. If you’re covering breaking news, provide updates as they are available.
Covering softer news stories? Tease your audience and let them know what you’re covering by posting photos, videos, and teasers from the story to encourage them to stay tuned. The takeaway here? Be a regular voice that your readers can recognize and come back to time and time again.
3. Know What Resonates With Your Audience
Each social media platform has its own demographic of users and when creating content for your social media platform of choice, it is important to tailor the content to your followers. According to Pew Research, adults between 30-49 make up a large percentage of news consumers on Reddit and LinkedIn, whereas adults between 18-29 mostly used TikTok and Snapchat to view news. Each platform has creative ways to share posts but finding the most relevant and resonating option is key.
For example, Facebook has been most commonly used for videos and written posts, whereas Twitter is known for its shorter posts and the ability to build a feed off one single tweet. Instagram has gained popularity with its story feature that allows for videos or photos. Most Instagram users are viewing stories more commonly than posts these days, so keep that in mind when using Instagram for news.
4. Use Hashtags
Made popular by Twitter, hashtags have become a common feature to most social media platforms these days. Hashtags allow others to find your content and in journalism, hashtags are your friends! If you’re trying to grow your following or alert those in your area of what news is trending in their community, it's important to add hashtags to your posts. When using hashtags, it's important to remember to only tag for topics most relevant to your story — don't overdo it and make your post look like hashtag spam.
For example, consider including hashtags for:
- The city/state of the news
- The topic (politics, storms, crime, breaking news, etc.)
- The name of an individual or organization the news is about
- Any other relevant keywords
This will help anyone not already following you to find stories you’re covering, in turn helping you to grow your audience and give those looking for news another resource to follow.
5. Be Creative
Social media is versatile and constantly changing which is a good thing! Don’t be afraid to be creative when it comes to sharing news. There are so many features on each platform that allow for engaging content and the ability to step out of the box.
Social media is a great way to engage with your audience, so meet them where they are and help them engage with news in new ways. Of course, always follow your newsroom's social media guidelines but remember that social media is an incredibly helpful tool that can build a following for your news coverage.
For tools to help in your day-to-day social media work, check out some of our favorite tools for bloggers and journalists.
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