Social Media Handbook for Journalists

Social Media Handbook for Journalists

Today social media are a natural part of the everyday lives of people all over the world.

This makes social media fantastic tools for communicating with our audience. If you are working with a niche station, a cutting edge programme or a language minority, social media give you the opportunity of becoming a hub in an online community. People who speak the language your department represents may be spread out geographically, but get together in groups and on social media pages. So the manual is divided into three main parts: dialogue, research, and sharing.

These three parts are interlinked, however. For example, it is difficult to spread one’s material without a dialogue, since dialogue is the basis of all activities in social media. Still, the division corresponds to the needs we generally have: we want to talk to our audience, we want to find better approaches and new ideas, and we want as many people as possible to have access to our work.

Understanding which is the right channel to use is a decisive factor for involving visitors and using the media in the best way. For a department that needs to be quick, Twitter might be best, while Facebook might be better for those building relations, and for in-depth programmes, it might be worth starting up a blog.

Most often you will be using a combination of these. New services are forever replacing old ones, so knowledge about them is a perishable good. What follows is a brief run-through of currently available services;

Facebook is an excellent tool for giving the public access to the editorial staff – for showing them the faces behind the voices and for building trust and collaboration. Thanks to its size, Facebook is hard to beat when visitors want to help spread a story – and the impact can be massive.

• Popular
• Spread content – tips for live events and listening
• The possibility of sharing many different media types: images, film, sound
• “Slow” crowdsourcing, input from visitors
• Relationships, emotions and opinions, chats/discussions about emotionally engaging topics with elevated identification levels
• Building relationships, following others’ “lives”
• Dialogue during the course of the programme, feedback
• Mapping individuals on networks
• Finding cases


Twitter has long been popular among those in power and among journalists, which has made it a strategic choice for spreading own material. Recently, however, Twitter use has increased among other groups as well – the number of active users doubled in 2011. With the help of Twitter, you can quickly reach the “right” people, who can help you spread the news item. Twitter is more sensitive to the timing of your post than Facebook, for example. Twitter feeds are fast, and posts quickly disappear in the multitude. This means there is a real risk that your followers will miss your posts. It may, therefore, be a good idea to post the same or similar content on several different occasions.

• “Fast” crowdsourcing
• Real-time reporting
• Specialized / initiated discussions
• Geographical groups, e.g. “people in Gothenburg”
• Searches: what is being talked about how and where…
• Dialogue during the course of the programme, feedback
• Fast temperature checks of talking points
• Find people on the spot as news events develop quickly
• The possibility of viral spread

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Ali is a seasoned business leader and executive with 10 years of diverse experience in Digital and Commercial areas of IT industry. He gained broad experience in managing on-demand (cloud) and on-premise offerings in both Public and Private sectors in Turkey and UK&I.

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Ali Rıza Babaoğlan | All Rights Reserved, part of Grow in EMEA Investment Advisory group.