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Industry Focus: 4 Advantages to Social Media

As Twitter, Facebook and other social media becomes a favored source for information, local broadcasters have begun to turn their attention toward social media to retain their standing as the leading news source.  By integrating camera images and video, stations can enhance their sponsorship revenue while interacting with viewers as the immediate source of breaking news.

Fast can be accurate –

Your on-air broadcast has traditionally been ground zero for every important story from breaking news to severe weather to sports scores. Social media should be an extension of that established format. People trust you to deliver the most accurate on-air story and want turn to you for the most accurate social media news as well. Facebook, Twitter, etc allows you to go beyond the nightly newscast and into a multifaceted medium of instant information and with a broader reach. A short video of breaking news or an image of lightning during severe weather can deliver the exact information your viewers are looking for from your social media.

Enhance sponsorship –

Facebook posts and Twitter feed can also be used to add value to your sponsors and advertisers. Pointing viewers to the sponsors’ web or Facebook page can be done directly by retweeting or “liking” the company’s posts or by mentioning the company name in your posts. You can also indirectly help increase the number of visitors to a sponsor’s page by using camera shots and videos with their logo on your social media pages. One recent television advertiser said that they received 2-3 times more hits on their Facebook page than their main website. Including sponsor mentions on your pages will generate more traffic for your sponsors and ultimately generate more revenue for the station.

Engage with the community with posts that impact their neighborhood

Engage, discuss, debate –

For broadcasters, social media is a great platform to quickly disseminate information and to open a dialogue with viewers. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are not meant to replace traditional broadcasting but serve to compliment your on-air broadcasts and website. The ability to react to, participate in and share the news is one of the biggest advantages social media has brought to local stations. People connect with images more than just text. Take advantage of the ability in Facebook and Twitter to include pictures from your tower cameras, highlight video from great sports moments or the 5 day forecast. This active role allows the stations to truly engage with the viewers.

The rest of the story –

One perceived disadvantage to breaking news or weather through social media is the length. A few sentences or 140 characters is seldom enough space to convey an entire story or deliver enough detail on breaking severe weather. A recent study* reports 21% of Millennials list social media as their primary source for news between news websites (30%) and television broadcasts (18%). Posts to social media are typically extremely brief but the beauty of the limited space is that it allows you to point readers to your broadcast and to your website for more information. Social media may break the story but it can and should drive viewers to your broadcast and traffic to your website for the rest of the details. Social media also allows viewers to continue to discuss and follow stories that interest them long after the traditional coverage ends.

Social media is changing the overall landscape of broadcast journalism. There are local stations that have been using social media as part of their news strategy since its inception. There are also stations that have held out or not fully committed to the medium for one reason or another. It is time for those stations to take a leap of faith. The social media revolution is simply another way to connect with your viewers and drive web traffic with the instant and accurate details they are looking for.