Archive | January, 2012

Professional twitter tips from social media experts

31 Jan

Twitter is not, like many tweeters think, a place to post what you’re doing all day long. At this weekend’s conference, Sree Sreenivasan, technology expert and dean of student affairs at Columbia School of Journalism, said Twitter is a place of business and a great place to have a 2-way connection with anyone. He said one of his students tweeted at Katie Couric and she replied. That would have never happened with an email or phone call. Twitter is powerful, so using it in the best possible way is important!

Below are great Twitter tips I learned at the Social Media Conference at Columbia from a variety of speakers. To see an example of a great Twitter user, check out Brian Stelter, @brianstelter, NY Times media reporter.

Sree’s Top 12 Tips

  1. Spend time writing tweets, Sree takes 3-5 minutes to craft his tweets
  2. Keep your followers in mind when you tweet (find out top followers on twiangulate.com)
  3. Do not bore your followers, keep them happy so they continue to follow you
  4. Make only 1 in 5 Tweets about yourself
  5. Save the “humble brag” for Facebook
  6. Make tweets blue, follow format “@someone, link, photo, #something” when you can
  7. You can never follow enough people! But as soon as someone gets boring, unfollow them
  8. Thought 140 characters was short? Make tweets 120 or less
  9. Make username short so it’s easy to mention in tweets, and don’t use an underscore
  10. Be generous, following someone is one of the nicest things to do on Twitter
  11. Make your bio specific: include name so people will find you, say what you tweet (look at Stelter’s bio, very specific and informative)
  12. Don’t just hit “retweet”, instead take the time to copy it then tweet: RT @originaltweeter (paste what they wrote). This way they will know you RTed them
  13. More of Sree’s tips

Other great Twitter tips from the weekend:

  • Update your bio frequently as what your tweeting about changes, especially if you get a new job, from Melissa Mistal, @MaggieMistal, host of “Making a Living with Maggie” on Martha Stewart Living Radio
  • When looking for a job, there’s a difference between stalking and seeking! Don’t reply or mention potential employers excessively, from David Gaspin, @davidgaspin, Head of Talent Acquisition at TheLadders.com
  • Be open and friendly. Respond to people, thank them, mention them. Stelter always replies and his bio has all his contact information. (not necessary but definitely friendly), from David Gaspin
  • When tweeting, don’t forget all the rules journalists already follow. Check grammar and be ethical, from Serbino Sandifer-Walker, @sswalker, journalism professor at Texas Southern University
  • Have an interesting background on your Twitter page, put professional information in Twitter bio and something a bit personal, to add character from Mauricio, @rightmau, strategist at ROKKANmedia
  • Find a # that relates to your field and mention in in tweets to connect

Helpful lingo and sites, some taken from Shorty Awards “Short Tweet Guide” from Gregory Galant, @gregory, CEO/co-founder of Sawhorse Media

  • MT – modified tweet
  • RT – retweet
  • OMG – oh my god
  • BTW – by the way
  • IMHO – in my humble opinion

http://listorious.com – find people and lists to follow

http://muckrack.com – find journalists on Twitter

http://twiangulate.com – find out who your top 100 followers are, find common friends, people to follow

http://hootsuite.com – manage social media accounts by scheduling tweets, keeping track of followers and interactions. also automatically shortens links

tweetdeck.com – similar to hootsuite, but developed by Twitter

hashtracking.com – gives detailed Twitter report, how many RTs, impressions, etc. still in beta, example: http://bit.ly/smwkndht

visibletweets.com – animates tweets beautfilly, great backdrop during a conference like #smwknd

storify.com – creates a story out of social media, example by @opride: http://storify.com/opride/social-media-weekend-2012-preview

Be Better at Twitter: The Definitive, Data-Driven Guide – Megan Garber – Technology – The Atlantic.

Advertisements

Facebook Timeline opens doors for next gen journalists

30 Jan

With two new features – timeline and subscribe – Facebook is becoming a platform for journalists to take their work to the next level. Not only producing the final story, but posting pictures while reporting, connecting with followers and promoting work on their page to a private and public audience, all with the genuineness of Facebook.

Vadim Lavrusik, the journalist program manager at Facebook presented at this weekend’s social media conference at Columbia Journalism School. He showed how the site’s new visual interface, extended 60,000 character limit for status updates, and subscribe feature can help journalists enhance their work and connect to more readers. And how the site can save time – people search and crowd sourcing are tools to find sources.

Steve Rubel, from Edelman PR, discussed an overarching theme of the weekend, that journalists must be cross trained. And it doesn’t mean just being able to write, photograph and take video, which is a growing trend, but being able to use that content to connect with an audience online. Rubel said, journalists are more than ever, personalities. This is clear on Twitter – writers, anchors and radio figures have hundreds of thousands of followers. People want journalists they love to be their celebrities. When readers finish an article, they want to know more about the writer behind it. It’s a logical step for Facebook, which has 800 million users, to move in this direction.

With the subscribe feature phasing out the traditional fan page, which can feel inauthentic and PRy, Facebook is eliminating another wall between fans and figures, giving the public more social satisfaction. Over 1000 journalists now using subscribe since September 2011.

Subscribing allows followers see a limited version of someone’s Facebook profile. The same one they probably use to connect with real friends.

This feature feels genuine, and with timeline, it gives a vivid visual of what the figure has been doing. It’s also a way for journalists to connect to sources without any conflict of interest.

However, at the conference, people worried using Facebook for their professional and personal lives could bother real friends. I think it’s a fine line – but friends can be interested in what their journalist friends are doing. One panelist said she posted to everyone, asking her work posts were too much, and her friends responded no. I think in a Facebook will eventually modify the feature as journalists experiment with it.

But subscribe can be so beneficial for journalists. It can expand the reach a story has. Posts show up in followers’ news feeds, likes and comments are involved – all which can raise traffic to parent sites.

 If a user sees a friend liked a story, they’re 3-5 times more likely to read it, according to Lavrusik.

Yahoo and the Washington Post both recently created Facebook social reader applications, and saw dramatic increases in traffic. Yahoo’s traffic rocketed up by 600%, and The Washington Post gained 3.5 million readers a month, 83% under age 35, a previously untapped demographic.

The story behind sharing the story

“A good story is a good Facebook story,” Lavrusik quoted New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. With over 300,000 subscribers, he understands the power of social.

He posts links to his own articles, articles he finds interesting, updates on who he’s interviewing and asks questions.

Lavrusick says the best things to post are breaking news, analysis, reader shout outs, pictures, calls to action and humor. Rubel said using verbs in statuses works as well, like “I am interviewing…” “I am reading…” “I am watching…” Best times to post are 7, 8 and 10 am, 4-5 pm, 12 and 2 am.

Washington Post online editor for world and national security, Anup Kaphle, and BBC video journalist/reporter Franz Strasser, who presented at the social media in reporting workshop at #smwknd, are examples of the new age journalist. The both post amazing behind the scenes pictures and videos to connect with their fans.

People in the audience raised concerns that using Facebook is extra work. Strasser said he puts in minimal time to make the maximum impact. While working on stories, he’ll post pictures and short teaser videos along the way. It’s a bit more casual than what’s on the BBC site, he said no one expects his short videos from location to be great quality, but it increases traffic to BBC and is a way for people to see the behind the scenes, and become more interested in his work. He also gains a following on instagram, a photo-sharing app, he uses to publish pictures and post on Facebook.

Yet, both journalists warn not to give away too much. On reason is to avoid giving the competition a lead. Strasser said he’ll be a little vague with info he posts while reporting, and will post more info 24-48 hrs before he knows the story will be published.

Kaphle has posted pictures, updates and videos from Afghanistan. For security reasons, he follows restrictions to how much info he can include.

He posts once a day. If you’re on social media too much, it looks like you aren’t doing your job, he said.

And, to not take away from their parent publications, Kaphle and Strasser link content back to those sites. The subscribe feature then can benefit the publication.

Connecting to sources

When Lavusick needed to interview an unreachable witness to a death for a story, he messaged her on Facebook after finding her on People Search. She responded in 5 minutes. Why? With Facebook, she saw the Lacusick was a person, not just a reporter, and felt more comfortable talking to him.

Strasser said finding someone on Facebook is also faster than searching the web for an email, which might be inactive. He understands that it can still feel like an invasion of personal space. He always apologizes first, saying he couldn’t find their email. He includes his work information to show credibility and suggests they continue the conversation via email.

Also, posting publicly as a status, asking if anyone knows of someone who can help with a story, is so easy and can be very effective. Or finding a group that relates to the topic you’re writing about and posting there.

www.facebook.com/journalists

http://www.talkingbiznews.com/?p=30369

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/25/facebook-subscribe-journalists/

http://mashable.com/2012/01/25/facebook-subscribe-journalists-2/

http://www.facebook.com/anupkaphle

http://www.facebook.com/fstrasser

Social Media Weekend: conference overview

30 Jan

image

This weekend I went to the social media conference at Columbia School of Journalism. I learned so much from top people in the industry. New sites, how Facebook is a tool for journalists, job hunting tips, blogging and how to use Twitter and LinkedIn the right way.

Top takeaways:

* Keep twitter professional, it’s business
* Show a specific focus in person and on Twitter & blogs
* Social media can be overwhelming, test new sites to see how they work for you before fully committing
* Spend time on blog posts and tweets, check grammar, use tags, links and pictures
* Keep your audience in mind when you’re active in social media, don’t bore them
* Showing your interests on social media gives you character, blogs don’t have to relate to career

I’m going through all my notes and digesting a very full 3 days of information. Look out for my posts this week about some of the topics covered.