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Over the last couple of years I have monitored a lot of stations, hash tag groups and individual journalists who have thousands of followers and big Klout in social media. There is a common thread. These stations, groups and individuals do not use social media for overt promotion. Yep. No bragging. No showing off. No pics of their Emmys on their Instagram accounts. Instead these successful social media entities do something else. They ask for other people’s opinions or they ask for clarification on things they have seen or heard. In short, they create a sense of community.
Many journalists are being pressured to come up with innovative ways to engage the audience through social media. If you want to move into management you better have a proven track record, at least through your own social media accounts. When you ask what the stations want, they have the same answer: tonnage. As intimidating as that may seem, there is a simple way to create that volume. Build a sense of community. That means letting the people who “follow” you know that what they have to say is important and engaging. That means you, the hot shot TV star, are not the most important thing. (I say this partly joking, many journalists especially if you are on-air are pressured by your bosses to show off how cool you are. That’s frustrating, confusing and intimidating in its own right.)
So how do you build a sense of community? You have to find subjects that people want to exchange information about. You will have to be brave enough to experiment a bit and when you strike a cord, look for similar subjects. This will take time and effort, but it can be very exhilarating also. When you see two of your followers engaging with each other, keep engaging with them as well. It does not matter who thought of the idea being discussed first. Just run with it and encourage even more input. Make your followers feel more like contributors. Your numbers will explode. Best of all, I guarantee you will find spending time on social media a very rewarding part of your career instead of another chore you need to mark off your to do list each day.