In my final week of emerging media and the market, one part of our lesson detailed steps that would help someone demonstrate to the cautious and the naysayers that social media is a valuable tool in the arsenal.
It’s a serious job, and a serious investment. It’s not something to take lightly.
Throughout my time in the IMC program at West Virginia University, my classmates and I have discussed some epic social media mishaps.One mishap that sticks out in my mind occurred last year. Kenneth Cole decided to weigh in on possible military action in Syria by mocking the phrase “boots on the ground,” which had been used by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry with regard to sending in ground troops.
He tweeted: “’Boots on the ground’ or not, let’s not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear.”
Ouch. That was bad.
In a statement to CNBC, Cole said that he uses his platform in “provocative ways” in order to start dialogues about important issues like HIV, war and homelessness.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news here Kenneth, but that’s not provocative. It’s just in poor taste.
One major consideration in budgeting a social media program is content development.
Content takes professionalism in design, writing skills, video production, photography, webcast production, audio development, and more. It will also require someone skilled in social media management, to ensure that all content is engaging and supports your online brand position.
At the Herald-Standard, it seems like almost everyone on the editorial staff understands the importance of social media. And it seems as if we all take it pretty seriously. However, we don’t really have a social media strategy (at least, as far as I’m aware), and I think it’s paramount that we develop one.
The Economist likes to run “editorial events” on social platforms, from Q&A discussions on Twitter to monthly Google+ Hangouts, both bringing together the newspaper’s journalists and readers for valuable conversation.
I think this is something that I could see us doing. My friend, and former co-worker hit the nail on the head when she said, “blogging makes journalists seem more human and less like names in the paper.” I could see these “editorial events” having a similar effect.
And I would also argue that having a presence on social media makes us appear more human. I have a personality, and I definitely try to show it on social media.
Here’s an example of a Facebook post I shared recently about an important story:
I don’t know what the future holds for the newspaper industry, but if social media is another tool in our arsenal that we can use to connect with our readers, I’m more than happy to oblige.