The shift toward journalists using social media to source, research and interact in the last few years has shaped news as we now know it. Twitter has been one of the greatest influencers of Australian media in recent times, with journalists adopting 140 characters or fewer to identify interview subjects, search for background information and share stories with readers.
While debate continues about the accuracy of Twitter as a source of information, many journalists are not opposed to using the platform to create and share news content. This also means that journalists are now learning how organizations are using social media to protect their reputation in the public (and social) eye.
Speaking at SxSW 2013, Bloomberg media reporter Edmund Lee discussed some of the common mistakes he observed among organizations interacting with journalists in social media.
He pointed out organizations creating profiles in social media to merely monitor news stories and avoid any interaction with journalists. Many journalists saw right through these profiles and have often expressed their frustration on their personal accounts when a media request via a post or tweet was ignored.
Lee also considered the rise of the ‘corporate blog’ as an attempt by organizations to shape the story. He argued that many blog posts were often “written as a media release without context,” leaving journalists with no choice but to hunt (and hunt) for sources and information to add value to the story and their audience.
So what should organizations consider when it comes to managing media in social?
1.Revisit your strategy. While responding to media may not be an objective, it must be acknowledged as a key audience in your social media strategy. Consider how you will respond to journalists online.
2.Don’t hide. Participate. If your organization has adopted social media, then the company must commit to be part of the community. Standing in the corner watching everyone else will not go unnoticed by media.
3.Don’t press the ignore button. A media request via social media should be treated with the same respect as a request in person or by phone. Ignoring a journalist will only leave him or her hungry for more.
4.Provide answers, not a story. If you share new information via social media then provide context, not just an announcement. But don’t take over the role of the journalist – it’s still his or her story.