Using social media to promote your publication

So your publication is finally in the world of social media–now what?

Journalism staffs all over the country are starting to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote their publications not only within their schools, but also throughout their communities.
Below, read advisers’ tips about the most effective ways to utilize social media. Also, learn how online advisers are creating positions on their staffs for social media editors.

Twitter Tips
By: Steve Hanf, adviser
School: R.J. Reynolds HS
Winston-Salem, N.C.
Publications: Pine Whispers-NP, Gold-YB

-Good content is huge. Use Twitter to take people to your website for stories on your school and its people they can’t get elsewhere. BUT, don’t be afraid to just give them other cool info they aren’t used to getting. We had huge RTs when we started posting the lunch schedule rotation (it changes quarterly). Important school deadlines (yearbook orders, school photo day) and reminders about band/chorus concerts, plays and sporting events can make your site the people think of when they have a question about school. I was pumped when people started direct-tweeting or posing questions to our Facebook page when they wanted to know about prom tickets or when Homecoming took place.

– Promotion is key. If your school has an active athletics Twitter account, post some things that would be pertinent to its followers and then hope (or ask) that the bigger account RTs you. We had a lot of luck with that last year, picking up handfuls of new followers at a time after RTs. Likewise, as teachers around your school turn to Twitter to post assignments and other musings for their students, you can RT some of their funny stuff and get them – if they’re not already – to follow you. Have your kids put some posters around the school so students know it’s out there. It’s also a good idea to turn to the folks who do your PTO/PTA/PTSA newsletter and get blurbs about your offerings publicized that way. Much of our Facebook following, for instance, is familiar last names – the parents and grandparents – while it’s the kids who are on Twitter.

Job Description of the Social Media Editor
By: Tara Jewell, adviser
School: Naperville North HS
Naperville, IL
Publication: The North Star

Social media posting expectations
Each week, the Social Media Editor will be expected to track social media postings on the provided grade record. The Social Media Editor is required to make regular posts on Facebook and Twitter. See grading policy for details on number of posts required. The grading record should be filled out weekly, noting what section the social media post directed readers to and marking under the “P” whether or not a photo was attached. The Social Media Editor should make every effort to make these postings during high traffic times. Posts should include photos whenever possible. The Social Media Editor is also responsible for updating The North Star Instagram. Instagram must be updated regularly as well. See grading policy for details on number of posts required. Progress should be marked on the table below (exclude the Photo Column). It is expected that the Social Media Editor will talk with the section editors and submit a plan to the Editor-In-Chief regarding what stories will receive social media attention that week.

Social Media Photo Expectations:
Posts should include pictures whenever possible. Pictures uploaded to the site, whether in status updates or in albums, should always be tagged. It is the job of the Social Media Editor to tag all photos, and tag names in post. The Social Media Editor should make every effort to figure out the identities of all pictured individuals.

Social Media Goals:
It is the job of the Social Media Editor to attract viewers to The North Star website and social media sites. Therefore, the Social Media Editor is responsible for helping to gain more followers on social media sites. It is expected that the Social Media Editor will meet the following goals for social media sites.

1000 Facebook likes by end of semester – 1500 by 2nd
750 Twitter followers by end of semester – 1000 by 2nd
300 Instagram followers by end of semester – 400 by 2nd

It is also the expectation that the Social Media Editor will be current on other popular social media sites. If they believe there is a new social media site that would The North Star, it is their responsibility to speak with the Editor-in-Chief and Advisor and set up the site.

Promotion is going to be extremely important. No student at North should be able to spend more than a day or two at North without hearing about what The North Star is doing. It is the job of the Social Media Editor to plan promotional events.

It is expected that the social media will plan a promotional event/activity every week. These events should be detailed in the plan submitted to the EIC weekly (which will also include social media posting plan)
These can include (but are not limited to): QR Code distribution and posters, giveaways, announcements, staff spirit-wear days, fundraising, social media contests, twitter retweets, exc.