To engage readers on Facebook, you must engage readers on Facebook.
The advice sounds redundant but it is the core lesson from Kim Wilson, who on Tuesday suggested eight ways newsrooms can better utilize the social network.
Wilson suggests driving engagement by asking questions of readers, always including links in your posts, and responding to posted comments.
The challenge in most newsrooms is doing these things consistently. Facebook, and other social media services, are often looked at as a single media channel. So, in that view, posting a story link to your fan page qualifies as “feeding” that channel and fulfilling audience expectations.
However, Facebook, and other sites are not pure distribution hubs. Social media users expect to see you posting and promoting your own content on the site. But, they also expect to see newsroom staffers following up on comments, asking questions, and generally participating in the conversation.
So, posting a link and story summary might serve the needs of some readers, but if a conversation thread attached to that post goes unmonitored and unanswered, the end result will be a negative one for your “fans.”