Oh how things have changed. Gone are the days of typewriters, crumpled paper, rotary dial phones, collapsible cameras, cigarettes, and coffee. The world of journalism has arguably shifted dramatically in the age of the internet, but as of this week, it shifted yet again.
This past Thursday Facebook made an interesting move in the media space that small businesses, marketing managers, and in particular public relations folks should take note of. On April 24 they launched Facebook Newswire (https://www.facebook.com/FBNewswire), a resource for journalists that aggregates newsworthy social content shared publicly on Facebook and Twitter by individuals and organizations. They have partnered with Storyful (http://storyful.com/ ), a company that claims to “separate the news from the noise” by discovering, verifying and acquiring timely video and user generated content, including original photos, video and status updates shared publicly. Storyful’s involvement will add a layer of verification to save time in the news gathering process. It’s an interesting partnership. Storyful, a Dublin Ireland based company, was acquired by Robert Murdoch’s News Corp in December 2013. It’s thought they will bring traditional journalistic values to the table to help separate the substantial and real from the superficial or fake. Not a bad thing in the sometimes wild west of social media space. Facebook also recently hired Liz Heron from the Wall Street Journal to facilitate relationships between Facebook and news organizations. It would certainly appear they are serious about moving solidly into the curated content space. In a world of excess social noise, any act to simplify will no doubt be welcome. Especially if journalists feel they can trust the source.
This new channel is an opportunity for generating tremendous EARNED MEDIA. And it plays beautifully into mass traditional print and broadcast media, as well as their online properties. It will make it easier for newsrooms and journalists to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce. One of the key components of having an item go viral seems to be generating a lot of social sharing initially that then gets picked up by traditional media, who further fuel online sharing exponentially. Facebook Newswire could be a critical component in this puzzle.
But here’s the thing, if you want pickup on FB Newswire, your content must generate social interactions. Social interaction, or sharing by many, is a way of authenticating interest. Call it social proof.
What does all this mean to you? And what can you do to increase the sharing of your content?
1. Share publically what your fans will enjoy. Make a point of reviewing your Facebook analytics and seeing the type of content that got liked or shared a lot in the past. Chances are, it wasn’t that press release or new product announcement. And make sure you see the “share public” globe icon, rather than the “share friends” icon, with your post if it’s from a personal FB account. You FB page will share publicly automatically.
2. Remember it’s not about you. It’s about them. Use the rule of one-to-one-to-many. Speak to one person and give them a reason to share with their many. Generally if you make them look smart, funny, insightful or somehow privileged with insider information, you’ll get more sharing.
3. Use images and video. Increasingly social media favours visual. Research has shown that Facebook and Twitter posts with visuals generate 53% more likes than text content alone.
4. Give it a compelling headline that begs to be opened or shared. While it may be old school journalism, headlines sell. Use appropriate #hashtags so the content falls into channels that folks might be monitoring, which will help the right people find your stuff and increase sharing. While you’re at it, keep the characters to 100 characters or less. That way, it is actually possible for someone to re-tweet it with their handle and still be under 140 characters.
5. Embed social sharing buttons and icons in your content. This one is huge. You need to make it super simple for folks to share, because sharing adds to the social proof, which is ultimately what FB Newswire is looking for.
While the ultimate goal may be to have Facebook Newswire pick up your content, these 5 best practices will no doubt increase the social sharing of your content, and drive traffic back to your site. That’s got to be a good thing!
It also appears that Facebook will be placing FB Newswire content right in your newstream like a sponsored post now appears. This will no doubt fuel even more social sharing. Here’s an example I received on Friday on my mobile. Curiously it did not show up in my desktop feed. It’s a posting via Rick Graham in North Carolina about tornado formation, complete with a scaring looking video. At least we just get earthquakes here on the coast!
You can check out Facebook Newswire page here: https://www.facebook.com/FBNewswire
Or follow them on Twitter @FBNewswire.
So there you have it. Now here’s my request. If you found this useful, why not SHARE it? Social share buttons for Facebook, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn are at the bottom of this post. I’m pretty sure it will make you look smart and on the inside edge!
And if you’re of a certain age and craving a little nostalgia from a time when all of this was much less complicated, check out this link to the 1 minute audio for the season opener of WKRP in Cincinnati. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKIFIp7jQ4c