Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Tik Tok, everyday millions of users are consuming reports, pictures, videos, and news online. And they post on the internet themselves. Fact-checking often falls by the wayside and differentiating fake news from well-researched content is often not exactly easy. But social networks also offer journalists two major advantages: An enormous reach and an equally enormous wealth of information that they can access quickly and easily.
Classic print media outlets, as their name more or less suggests, stand for source-basedcontent. On social media, anyone can disseminate whatever enters their mind – from unverifiable allegations to conspiracy theories to fake news. There is an absence of authority checking content against journalistic criteria. So, it is not immediately clear to users whether they are reading credible reports or nonsense. That’s the downside. Nevertheless, social media has become an integral part of our daily media consumption. And that’s why journalists should also use it for their own content.
Younger people, in particular, spend more time getting information online rather than via traditional media. In general, access to daily news tends to take place online, especially by those who rarely use TV, daily newspapers, or radio in the past.
Develop a brand language – what name do you want to give your online presence, what visual language should you use, and above all: what do you want to communicate? What is it all about for you? Your concept and your own aesthetics are important because they have a recognition factor, so your readers know what content they can expect from you. That creates trust.
Attention span on the internet is extremely short. You can't land with long, detailed posts. Create short, concise posts that convey the relevant information with just a few lines. Use pictures and videos to get immediate attention.
Study the behaviour of your target group: Who do they follow? How do they interact? Adapt your posts to this style and create content that your audience is interested in.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok – each platform has different users. If you position yourself broadly and use several social networks, then you adapt your presence to the respective users. Instagram is more creative and business-oriented, while Twitter is mainly used for breaking news and TikTok is used to share quick and engaging video content. Setting up cross-media can generate even more attention.
Hashtags are an important tool to group your content into certain categories. With hashtags, content can be found more easily in social networks, and, with the right hashtag, you can gain a wider reach. Use established hashtags and create some yourself that you make ‘your’ hashtags. Hashtags can also be used to engage in conversation with other users and increase your reach in doing so
The content’s diversity increases the number of views a page gets. Images and small videos generate attention; interact with your followers via polls or small puzzles. Instagram offers simple tools to achieve this – there are numerous image databases, some of them free of charge, where you can easily find suitable material.
You don't have to abandon serious journalism to be present on social media. If presented correctly, fact-checked content on the internet will have a large reach and you benefit from the wide range of information available on the web. And you even have the opportunity to communicate with your readers directly.
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