Social media is a factor in modern journalism and publishing that cannot be ignored. As a journalism student, I have seen personally how important it is to learn how to use social media to build a brand and push out content.
Many companies and businesses are looking for people that know how to use these forms of new media. It’s even evident when I look for internships.
I have had classes that require a social media post including our articles. For my college newspaper, we are required to have a Twitter account so that we can retweet and tease articles.
Not only does having these professional accounts look great to employers, but they help to make sure people are actually seeing your content online.
Yes, employers do check your social media accounts before they hire you. Of course you can ask them not to, but this will just end up making you seem suspicious. The best way to be prepared for this is to keep your social media clean and professional.
Maybe it’s a good idea to not post pictures of the party you went to on Friday night. The way I think of it is this: if you don’t want your mom to see it, don’t put it out there for employers to see.
As a writer, I have had to learn to control what I post. Not only does this make you look good to employers, it also can help your credibility. For instance, maybe chill on the political posts. Yes, I know that is hard during a very controversial election season, but refraining from posting how much you hate Trump will make you seem less extreme one way or the other.
Now, back to using social media as a tool to get as many people to see your content as possible. My first tip is to tease, tease, tease. Don’t just share it. Provide a sentence to lure the reader in. Throw a hashtag in that tweet, too.
Know who you are trying to reach, and what the best time is to release content to reach that current audience. This would involve research and maybe actually talking to people. Hey, I never said it would be easy.
Getting them in to read it is only the first step. The next part is keeping them there. Multimedia is my absolute favorite thing. Don’t just have text, but include some photos, videos, and other forms of media. This makes you writing seem easy to engage with, and it is a lot less scary to look at than just a wall of text.
Add links to sources and other articles. Make it an interactive experience.
If you have a lot of text, break it up. This is how newspapers are written, and it translates well to web writing. People on he net don’t want to read huge articles. That’s just a fact of life.
As far as platforms go, it is crucial to figure out what social media fits your content best. Photography? Instagram. Quick and quirky news? Twitter. Those are some simple examples, but you get the point. Once you find that platform, lean everything you can about it. Don’t feel like you have to be on all forms of social media.
Social media also provides everyone with a chance to be reporters. It allows for voices to be heard, and more discussions in public discourse. In a world where everyone can be a reporter,we no longer have the old media system where publications and news outlets are disconnected from their audience. Journalists can get their news out quicker and to more people at once.
Though this is a slightly outdated video, it does a nice job of summarizing what I am talking about.
In this digital age, it is easier than ever to know and understand your audience, as long as you know the tricks and platforms to use. Social media is a great tool that can be used by media professionals of all types, and everyday people. Don’t let it scare you.
To learn more about how social media and journalism are interacting, check this Atlantic article.
This Publishing Executive article also includes some great information on how to use social media to push out your work.