You can develop your social media presence through posting in your regular feed, but also via the Stories and Live features of Instagram and Facebook. Kyle Foster (journalist) and Lynn Walsh (project coordinator), both part of the Facebook Journalism Project in partnership with the SPJ Training Program, shared their expertise during the SPJ 2020 Conference, “Face-to-Face with Facebook.” Here are some of the tips they gave.
Instagram stories are especially liked by younger audiences, who grew up at the same time as these tools were developed. Stories allow users to share photos and videos with their followers, which will be accessible for 24 hours. It is a great tool for updates, but it can also be used to create a poll, a quiz, ask questions or mention other accounts. Here are some tips on how to use them best:
Cater to young people: Instagram’s use by younger generations is becoming way more prominent than Facebook. Therefore, keep in mind that your Instagram audience will likely be younger than your Facebook audience: post accordingly.
Go heavy on video: High-engagement publishers post about 50% video, for they create a lot of interaction. Keep your videos short and efficient.
Tell stories quickly: People consume Stories more than 50% faster than feed. Thus, you want to be concise and straight-to-the-point.
Add sound and subtitles: 60% of Stories are viewed with the sound on, this means that 40% of them will not be “heard.” Add subtitles for your audience to be able to follow your story, even when they are watching from a place where they cannot have sound on. Moreover, for accessibility reasons, having subtitles is always better.
Use creative tools: 1 in 4 organic stories feature a sticker. Feel free to add a donation, quiz, countdown, question, music, poll, location, hashtag, mention, time, or weather sticker. GIFs are always welcome too and particularly liked by younger audiences.
Be consistent: repeat franchises and personalities to build loyalty. Stick to your model and create your own “aesthetic.”
Mix-up visuals: feel free to vary your content using photos, videos, boomerangs, screengrabs, etc.
Use swipe-up links: whenever you are referring to an article or post, add a link to your story. If your viewers want to learn more, this will be a shortcut for them to access the content you are mentioning. The quicker and easier it is to access, the more people will click.
Involve your community: get your audience to react to your stories, by adding stickers (quizzes, polls, questions work well to create interaction). You can also ask your audience questions directly on video or text, and people will be able to reply.
Shoot vertically rather than horizontally: you are probably used to film everything horizontally every time you pull out your cellphone camera, because you know horizontal videos work best for most formats. For Instagram stories, the best is to shoot vertically. Otherwise, your audience will have to turn their phones to look at your story.
Facebook Live is a feature that allows users to use their phone or computer camera to broadcast real-time video and share it on the platform with friends, followers, or the general public. On average, there are 6 times more interactions on Lives than on regular videos, and 10 times more comments on Lives than on regular videos: this is a powerful tool to create interaction and connection with the audience. Here are some tips on how to prepare for and succeed in a Facebook Live.:
- Use scheduled live to tell your fans that you’re broadcasting ahead of time
- Go live when you have a strong internet connection, you do not want your feed to cut in the middle of a sentence
- Write a catchy description before going live
- Interact with your audience
- Give people time to join
- Ask related pages to share the video
- Interact with viewers
- Manage the conversation with pinned comments
- Broadcast for a longer period of time to reach more people
- Save the video so more people can watch and share
- Update the description to help users understand
In order to assess your progress and focus on certain areas where you lack presence or on the contrary have a strong presence, you can use CrowdTangle. It is a Chrome extension that helps you identify where your traffic is generated, measure social performance as well as identify influencers. It works with social media such as Instagram and Facebook, but also Twitter or Reddit.
These tips come from Kyle Foster (journalist) and Lynn Walsh (project coordinator), both part of the Facebook Journalism Project in partnership with the SPJ Training Program, who shared their expertise during the SPJ 2020 Conference, “Face-to-Face with Facebook.”