Facebook Topic, Timing, and Treatment

As you head into February two of your primary missions with Facebook should be to maximize engagement and effectively recruit to view. To get there you want to pay attention to the Three T’s: TOPIC, TIMING and TREATMENT.

TOPIC: Not all topics are created equal. Just because it’s in the newscast doesn’t mean it belongs on Facebook. If you spend even a moment digging around in Facebook insights you’ll likely notice what virtually every television station that carries news notices: 2/3 to 3/4 of your engagement is coming from women. While some of these will be your loyalists many will also be the often sought after female switchable - hungry for the latest news, always primed for new weather information and particularly sensitive to stories surrounding safety and security. Help them satisfy those needs by empowering them to SHARE vital information that can improve their community.

There has been some press out there in the past few months strongly cautioning brands to avoid saying SHARE in posts. It certainly didn’t make sense to me, as long as it wasn’t overused. But, in talking to digital folks at various media companies they all believed it was best to think black and white and that it was a Facebook “directive” to veer away from SHARE.

Here’s the real answer: SHARE RESPONSIBLY!

So, examples like this one (lower right) from WFTS in Tampa can address that need for safety and security and can help build your brand and engagement at the same time.

Do the same for missing people - young and old. And do the same for suspects on the loose. Too many newscasts throw out the obligatory “call police” or “call CrimeStoppers” when these kinds of topics can be best addressed in this social media universe by posting it on Facebook and letting your audience know they can go there to SHARE it using words like “SHARE this with our friends to help the police…” language. It’s a great way to integrate Facebook intro your newscast and add value for your fans.


Right before the holidays, I put the voiced concerns about sharing question directly to SmithGeiger’s Facebook contacts and here was the response on the SHARE cautions:

  • As long as the station uses it thoughtfully and includes con text, they shouldn’t worry about asking for the SHARE
  • The reason the caution was issued was because some pages started asking “please like or share” in every post
  • Share based on quality content (as opposed to business- es that might want you to share this for a 10% discount on goods)
  • Vary up how you ask for the share, too. “Help spread the word” “Do you know where this suspect is…”

So, like many things in life it’s all about moderation. If a station starts to ask “please like or share” in most of their posts, there is a greater likelihood they will be flagged. Otherwise, if it makes sense to share vital information, important program notifications or occasional warm and empathetic messages SHARE it!

TIMING: By now many if not all of you have followed our social consulting on carefully crafted recruit to view messages in push alerts and social media posts. One of the dilemmas on Facebook surrounded the fact that the post would still show up in your fans’ feeds after the event/newscast had aired. Facebook implemented several product upgrades before the holidays and one in particular can help you with that recruit to view dilemma. Facebook now has “post end date” functionality. It’s available right now and allows stations to post a recruit to view and sunset it after the time passes. All you have to do is turn on post targeting in page settings and the interest based targeting and post end date should show up as options when you go to post new content. For a peek at the other Facebook tools and upgrades go to this link: http://media.fb.com/2014/12/10/new-tools-and-insights-for-publishers-2/

TREATMENT: The short tip here: Write like Facebook! Just as you wouldn’t write newspaper copy on television don’t put television copy on Facebook. Remember, your fans appreciate your heads up about breaking news or weather so they can get more on TV. Even though fans are increasingly getting news from Facebook it’s not a news platform - it’s an engagement platform that helps you market your best work. Stories specifically crafted to get likes, comments, shares and clicks build your brand. Those that simply push out news, trigger the algorithm to constrict your posts from showing up in your fans’ feeds. Twitter is more conducive to pushing out news written in “news speak.”

Facebook makes it easy to see if your treatment is having any impact by simply looking in Insights to check on reach and engagement. To best measure how you are doing with treatment consider a spreadsheet with the monthly reach and engagement that you send to management and staff to educate and keep tabs of your efforts. If you’re succeeding your averages will obviously go up. And, as many of you have seen in the past couple of months, combining smart writing treatment with a short video clip, generally NOT longer than about 15 seconds, can help you achieve the growth you’re seeking.

Look for more helpful blogs on local news and social media in our social media folder or connect with your SmithGeiger consultant directly.