Social media has revolutionized the way audiences consume the news; changing not only the method of delivery, but the way that stories are shared and transformed in the process. On April 30, Dave Olson from Vancouver-based HootSuite gave the final presentation of the INK+BEYOND conference, titled Sparking the Conversation: Creating a Social Media Plan.
Olson spoke about the history of the relatively young company and described how newspapers can, and should, incorporate social media into their online and mobile strategy.
In the new digital world, content creators can now analyze where audiences are coming from, what they are looking at and what they are responding to. “You can measure everything – slice and dice your channels and tune the timing and the delivery of your content,” said Olson.
From a business standpoint, social media dashboard services such as HootSuite help newspaper staff not only manage the delivery of content on a variety of social networks, but provide a number of features to help analyze and understand how audiences interact with content.
Some highlights include:
- Integration of multiple accounts (Facebook, Twitter Foursquare) all on one platform
- Customizable analytics and tools to track detailed readership statistics (interactions, demographics etc)
- Determine the “clout” of certain users – algorithm that assigns an influence value to people allowing you to determine which users have authority
- Custom search streams allow you to monitor mentions of your newspaper, competitors and key industry terms.
- Drill down your searches with geo-location and filtering options
While anyone can go out and create raw content, traditional media contextualize all of the “stuff” with a built in credibility. “Education, practice and experience make journalists different than all of the other content makers,” according to Olson. However, it is important to remember that social media should never be used as a one-way delivery mechanism; it is always about creating a conversation between the newspaper and the audience.
Olson closed his presentation by reiterating that newspapers should integrate social media into their digital plan but must remain in control. “Technology is a tool, the tool will change – concentrate on what you want it to do, don’t become a slave to technology.”
Look for indepth coverage of Dave Olson’s presentation Sparking the Conversation: Creating a Social Media Plan in the upcoming June/July edition of The Publisher.