"Journalists are now brands and that's a positive thing," says Sandra Crucianelli, a TV reporter in Argentina and an expert on social networks.
Crucianelli hosted a recent online seminar organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas on the role of journalists in social networks. Crucianelli, author of the book "Digital Tools for Journalists," gave some tips on how to get the most out of Facebook pages.
Here are IJNet's main takeaways.
- Journalists should interact with the audience using their real identity. People do not want to interact with the brand of a newspaper or a TV station; the audience wants to interact with people, Crucianelli says. It's important to use your full name rather than a nickname and a real, unaltered photo.
"Our profiles on social networks are worth a lot," notes Crucianelli. She added that profiles must follow certain standards of quality and journalists should hold themselves to high standards when participating in social networks, from profile photos to sharing information.
It's important to create dynamic interaction with the audience, Crucianelli says. It's a two-way channel for communication so journalists should respond to users when appropriate and not just limit themselves to promoting links to stories. She also advises to avoid being arrogant. "On social networks, it's generally not a good idea to take a know-it-all stance."
Journalists should act as community managers. Crucianelli says it's best to let users to interact freely, but it is also important to intervene if the conversation gets out of hand. "Now journalists are also community managers," she underlines.
- Use Google's search engine and specialized sites to find information on Facebook. Facebook's internal search engine is the best place to start, she says. However, if the search does not show help you find what you are looking for, Crucianelli recommends an advanced Google search. For the best results, type "facebook.com" in the "searching site or domain" field.
Crucianelli also recommends sites to search for content in Facebook including Openstatussearch.com, Youropenbook.org, Itstrending.com, which shows the most shared content and Facetofind.com, which indexes videos posted on the social network.
- It's important to spend time on your site. Crucianelli advises spending half an hour or an hour per day, minimum, on your Facebook page. The page can be improved with various applications such as Webuzzapp.com, Faceitpages.com, Involver.com and Facebook's official guide for journalists.
For more Facebook tips, see IJNet's Facebook reporting guide.