By: Elizabeth Coffey, Marketing G2 Digital Marketing Specialist

Legacy media has had a rough time adapting to the digital age and a symptom of that is the way their social teams are often set up. Social media is not the passing fad or the temporary phenomena that it was once considered. It’s time for the social media teams at news organizations to catch up to the modern way social media marketing is done.

At your next social media planning and strategy meeting, take stock of what your social media team is doing and make sure that they align with modern social media best practices for the year 2018. Use the steps below to help you get started:

  • Step 1: Revisit and revise your social media job postings – If you’re looking for a social media specialist or two in 2018, don’t dust off a generalized job description from years ago. Get an experienced social media professional to write a new job description for you to use that reflects the current needs that exist in the market.

  • Step 2: Train your team to identify misinformation, disinformation, and other fake stories – Reputation management is a key piece of any professional social media strategy. To keep your news organization’s reputation intact and free of embarrassment, your social media team needs to know the difference between a real news story and one that has been fabricated for likes or other nefarious purposes. Verification is vital and learning how to spot and block bots is important.

  • Step 3: Stop flooding your social media pages with story link posts – Repetitively posting links to all of your news stories is not an effective social media strategy. Instead, choose 3 stories that you think will get the most traction to promote. This decreases the chances of you overwhelming your audience and you wasting your time.

  • Step 4: Use demographic and census data – Discover who is buying your news. This will help you hammer out your social media strategy and develop a viable social media marketing plan for the upcoming year.

  • Step 5: Have your social media team meet your readers IRL (in real life) – Plan community events to give your social media marketers the chance to gather useful interest information from your readers and your potential readers.

  • Step 6: Discover how to handle fact-resistant readers – It’s not enough to flag and identify misinformation. Your social media team needs to understand why and how people are distributing misinformation amongst themselves and how to lessen the inaccurate information’s effects.

  • Step 7: Develop a social media strategy that goes beyond driving page views – Focus on creating more loyal and engaged readers instead of just collecting followers and driving page views.

  • Step 8: Offer social media training courses so all of your employees can sharpen and refine their skills – Keep an eye out for those employees in your newsroom and in other departments who could use training to brush up on their social media, news verification, and audience development skills. There are free and low-cost online training resources that can help you get your people up to speed including information-rich Facebook groups and courses offered by the American Press Institute.

  • Step 9: See how well social-only content performs – Your social media team is a valuable resource, not only for driving engagement, but for keeping your news organization's finger on the pulse of what your audiences want in the way of stories. Have your social media team write exclusive stories for social media and have them help in assigning trending topics to journalists.

  • Step 10: Don’t forget to include your social media team whenever you start a major project or story – It’s much easier for them to do their job if they’re involved at the ground floor of any project. Don’t treat your social media teams as an afterthought.

How do you plan to tackle social in 2018?

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