Keeping up with the Facebook do’s and don’ts, the algorithm tweaks and nuances and the seemingly never-ending changes, upgrades and associated app launches to the platform has become a full-time job for some people at stations these days. Facebook has recognized some of the increasing needs and challenges facing broadcasters and at least for the time being they have assembled a larger team to provide local news support for both station and talent pages. Part of the reason they are doing this is that Facebook wants your talent to have their sites “verified” so they can access the newest MENTIONS app and use that for posting.
Heading up this effort is their strategic partnership team including Jason White and veteran journalist Liz Heron. They’ve brought aboard an internal operations specialist Reva Gaur and a small team of people to help you do a number of tasks that can otherwise seemingly take forever to get accomplished. This includes verifications which essentially lets fans know that the profile is authentic. You'll see a blue badge next to a verified Page or profile's name. These Pages and profiles may include anchors, celebrities and public figures in addition to your station page(s). They also help with user name changes, profile page migrations, imposter takedowns, page merges, access to Mentions, best practices updates and tool implementation.
On the best practice front you are probably deep into experimentation and execution of news and marketing strategies to boost your Facebook impact. You might be producing social videos in the form of “Facecasts”, talent posts, posting of social marketing videos, and simply posting more videos that can increase reach and engagement in general. The autoplay feature introduced last year has changed the user and mobile experience. You’ve likely noticed that those videos are getting strong engagement - especially those that are 15 seconds or less. Be sure to engage your SmithGeiger consultant on ways to improve your posts and execution to achieve best results with those.
Here are the new publisher tools Facebook recently introduced to help you further leverage that platform:
- Interest targeting - This allows you to post to a niche market so you don’t spam a broader group of people with a post that has a more targeted aim. This can be helpful with your TSRs. It allows for better commenting that way, too.
- Post End Date - If you’re concerned that your outdated post may show up in a person’s newsfeed after it is intended this allows you to have it expire when you intended it to expire. This can be especially helpful with a recruit to view post although many stations will simply take that recruit to view post and update it with a link and bypass this tool.
- Smart Publishing - This tool is still being rolled out to all publishers. It suggests stories that are popular and enables page administrators to view them on a dashboard and post them. WFTS Tampa marketing director Dennis Elsbury says “Our digital and social staff uses all the new tools to some degree. On the Smart Publishing tool we’re still not sure how they roll the traffic for those posts into Insights if they’re posting for our brand.”
- Domain Insights - This is an upgrade to their core Insights metrics. It goes deeper than before to help you know who is sharing your content, how successful your content is on the site and allows you to share content directly to your page.
Finally, the Mentions app. The newly created news operations team is bullish on getting your station and especially your talent pages verified and using the Mentions app to post. It allows you or the talent to see conversations others may be having about your brand that you could not see before. It also allows you to keep an eye on important sources and even your competition. You’ll be able to jump into that conversation and add your voice to a story. If your anchors are not using Mentions yet it may be worth identifying one or two of your more socially strong anchors to start experimenting with it to see if rolling it out further is beneficial to them rather than using the Facebook app.
By being verified it also allows you to request the Facebook Q and A tool. This can be effective either on the talent page or your station page. Some stations have been using it ahead of an impending storm by having their meteorologist handle the many safety and security concerns from your fans. That one on one engagement and being part of a broader community conversation can be a tactic to build stronger loyalty.
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