There are so many ways to use and track social media success in the newsroom; it can make your head spin. In a recent report on The Media Briefing, writer Chris Sutcliffe outlines how to make sense of all those numbers, and what some of the best social media editors in the industry do. The whole piece is worth a long, hard read, but here are some of the main points.
1. You need to decide on a story by story basis what you want to achieve via social media. Sarah Marshall, social media director for the Wall Street Journal says:
Are you wanting to achieve clickthroughs, or are you wanting to give people a service? Now if you’re properly doing your job best, you’re giving people a service, you’re telling people what’s going on in Kobani at the moment, or what Turkey’s position is, you’re essentially giving them a service but not requiring them to click through either on Facebook or Twitter. But then as a news organisation you don’t get the hits.”
2. Newsrooms need to focus on what kinds of stories do well on various platforms and go from there. Do you create content specifically for a platform? Maybe. Or it could even be as simple as changing the way you write the headline on Facebook as opposed to Twitter.
3. You can use reader response as a way to edit the story. As long as you’re updating and letting readers know you’re updating (and not just erasing your mistakes and sneaking off), you should gauge a story’s success and make it better. If people are going to be looking, you might want to change that featured image. Or link to more content internally. It’s also a way to know what interests people, leading to better follow-ups and additional content, an interactive map of election districts if a gerrymandering story is performing well, for example.
The whole point is to use social media and analyze it. How does your newsroom use metrics to change the workflow?