A photo of roadkill has changed the way a small station in Central Minnesota thinks about social media.
Earlier this month, KSAX, a satellite of KSTP in Minneapolis-St. Paul, posted a photo taken by a local woman to its Facebook page of a strange-looking dead animal that had been found on the side of a highway.
The animal’s pale white flesh and long claws sparked rampant speculation about its origins on KSAX’s Facebook wall and led the station to run a series of stories about it.
Spurred on by mentions from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Huffington Post, as well as a ton of interest on social media, the story led to record traffic on KSAX’s website. According to Poynter, the station set a single-day record of 250,000 pageviews.
“I feel that the recent activity on the KSAX website and the Facebook page confirms the philosophy of the (now former) news director Cristi Jessee,” KSAX station manager Ed Smith told TVSpy recently. “Two years ago the news department strategically planned on building and enhancing our social media presence. Posting on these sites has given us the opportunity to promote our local news and weather as well as have fun interacting with viewers. Every once in a while a story unexpectedly creates a lot of buzz providing more than usual traffic to our site. The roadkill story is a great example that. Who knew it would have had this reaction.”
For KSAX, the roadkill story highlighted Facebook’s potential not only as a platform for distributing news and interacting with viewers but also as a place to source stories.
“Story ideas will come from people in our communities through Facebook where we used to depend primarily on our ‘tip line,’” Smith explained.