Engagement means being a trusted source and a conversation hub
Joy Mayer writes that developing true community engagement at a local news site requires more than just Facebook and Twitter accounts. Social media networks are part of the strategy but, pointing to the West Seattle Blog as an example, she says actually being part of the community is also important.
Mayer, a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, talked with WSB founder Tracy Record and describes a few of the online and real-life strategies the small start-up site has used to grow to 800,000 monthly pageviews.
Much of the effort involves being present and visible in the community, and providing small, but important, services, such as reuniting lost pets with their owners. Social network tools are simply an extension of the outreach effort WSB is undertaking:
"Tracy says engaging with your community just means that you and the service you provide are considered to be an important part of it, and that you are a hub for conversation and connection. That conversation and connection can happen on the WSB site, on Twitter or on Facebook ... Tracy doesn’t care where her community members find or interact with her content, just that WSB is a trusted source and point of connection."