Engagement duties (fall 2020)
These duties ensure we’re always thinking about and communicating with our audiences. While all reporters should maintain an active presence on social media, the person on the desk acts and reacts as The Signal.
- Post or repost published stories to our social platforms
- Reply to and engage with audiences on social media and our website
- Retweet Signal reporters
- Craft new posts in breaking news situations
- Create visually focused posts to give audiences a sense of who we are/what we do
You need a Facebook account in order to do this job. Send the instructor the email address you use for FB and you’ll be added to the Signal account as an editor. Your personal account/name won’t appear when you post as The Signal.
Review the list below. You aren’t expected to do everything on this list during your shift. After all, you have other desk duties. But determine what’s a priority, do what you can and communicate clearly with the instructor.
Engagement can be broken down into several sub-roles:
- Approve (or not) comments awaiting moderation each day. These are listed on the main Dashboard page after log in. Moderating comments can be tricky. We must abide by the School’s commenting policy. We should take care to allow a full conversation — even if we don’t like the tone or language. We should approve comments that criticize us — even (especially?) if we disagree with them. We should reject comments that are offensive or libelous. Approve only those that are not spam. Consult the instructor. Examples of spam:
- “I love the content of your website”
- “Would you link back to my site?”
- “Your website is running slow”
Community engagement co-ordinator:
- Look for particular audiences or groups to target with our stories, mention/tag them
Social media editor:
Enter only original stories authored by our reporters. Keep it lively. Also, build engagement by replying to mentions and sharing (positive) comments. Some options:
- Write in casual language
- Don’t just insert the story page headline. Instead, use the social headline on the Signal front page. Or find the “nugget of social” in the story:
- A surprising fact
- A vivid quote that humanizes the story
- An issue or challenge that is likely to resonate with the audience
- Tag people mentioned in the story
- Issue a call to action. Ask users for their reaction to the story. “Would you use this service?” “Have you experienced this issue?”
In addition to sharing our own stories, you may post photos and short videos of Signal reporters doing their jobs. This “behind the scenes” content is a good way to show people what we do.
- Look at the CBC News FB account for a sense of what ours should look like.
- Tag public figures and organizations. This is an important factor in getting your post into the feeds of people who already Like this person or page.
- Craft a new summary so you’re not simply repeating the social headline.
- Paste the story URL into a status update to fetch the headline and image … then delete the URL. Posts should look like this:
See also: Updating the Facebook Cache when you change the image that is shared.
Read over the post before you publish to make sure the headline conforms to Facebook’s best practices. No click bait!
- Look at the Global Halifax account for an example of what ours should look like.
- Follow relevant accounts, particularly our reporters.
- Craft a new summary so you’re not simply retweeting the social headline.
- Repost the story twice — at different times in the day — to make sure our audience sees it. You may schedule posts using Hootsuite. Mix up the wording too.
- Include a couple of hashtags and/or Twitter accounts, where appropriate, to broaden the audience (e.g. @HfxRegPolice, #nspoli).
- Use emoji but make sure the tone suits the story (i.e. the lighter the story, the more room you have for play and creativity).
- Retweet and/or Like other users who mention @signalhfx favourably
- Retweet our reporters if they’re doing something journalism related
- Consider creating a poll
- Consider creating a thread like this example from ProPublica
- Consider adding a short video like this example from Kate McKenna
- The text and photo should work together like in this example
- Posts should have a big image (2:1 aspect ratio) like this
— The Signal (@signalhfx) October 1, 2015
- Instagram is about visuals, so you don’t need to post every Signal story. Choose pieces that are character driven, focus heavily on people, and/or have strong visuals.
- Include an explanation/summary that boils down the story to its essence. Add a strong quote or two, if you have them. Look at the Globe and Mail’s Instagram account for examples.
- Include a few hashtags, where appropriate, to broaden the audience (e.g. #halifax)
- Tag people, such as reporters or photographers and people mentioned in the story. If they’re not on Instagram, credit them anyway.
- Add a location (unless the story is particularly sensitive)
- Use emoji but make sure the tone suits the image/story