KMBC-TV anchor Kris Ketz — who was recently named one of “Local TV’s Top Tweeters” by Broadcasting & Cable magazine — has come up with some effective tips for using Twitter as a TV anchor. I talked with him about his top five:
1. Be consistent
If you’re going to have a Twitter account, you should use it on a daily basis — at least during working hours. Just like your audience members can rely on you to be on the air, they should be able to rely on your tweets for information.
If your account identifies you as a member of your news organization, that makes you a social media representative for not only news content but for your company.
Ketz says it’s important to know what your audience wants and to be consistent in your offerings. “If people are following you then chose to stay with you,” he said, “that’s a good sign you’re on the right path.”
Since the publication of Broadcasting & Cable list, Ketz’s Twitter following has grown to more than 4,000.
Try this: Start a routine. Every morning before KMBC goes on the air, Ketz tweets the station’s top headlines. It’s something his followers can rely on every weekday morning to get the top news in Kansas City.
2. Be available
Your followers should feel as though they can @mention you with a valid question or concern and get a response. Just make sure you stay professional when answering them.
“Never forget you are a journalist first. Being careful with opinions is always a must,” Ketz said. “I always say I would never say anything on Twitter that I wouldn’t say on the air.”
This doesn’t mean you have to check your DMs and @mentions 24/7, but do your best to respond to compliments, complaints and questions on a daily basis.
Try this: If you can, tweet during commercial breaks while you’re on the air. If you’re active during the times you’re most visible, followers may send you tips, pictures and updates on breaking news that you can both retweet and share on the air (with their permission, of course).
3. Add a personal touch
Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook can help your audience understand what goes in to being a TV journalist.
“I’ve always maintained as hard as journalists work to tell other people’s stories, we do a lousy job of telling our own,” Ketz said. “Vehicles like Twitter and Facebook can help fill that gap by offering people a view of … yourself that they won’t see anywhere else.”
Your TV audience already has an idea of who you are based on your work. Twitter offers the opportunity for you to facilitate and expand discussions on these topics. Ketz said his Twitter account reminds him of nationally syndicated sports radio host Jim Rome and his rule for listeners who want to call his show: “Have a take and don’t suck.”
Try this: Start tweeting about a personal hobby or interest. Ketz often tweets about his son’s high school football games.
4. Offer an inside view of the industry
Twitter gives you the ability to tell the stories behind the stories. Adding pictures, short videos or behind-the-scenes observations to your tweets gives your audience exclusive bits they won’t get on the air.
“Twitter or Facebook can help supplement your main coverage in a variety of ways,” Ketz said. “Think of it as another reporter’s notebook and the possibilities are many.”
Try this: During your next major news event, offer up a picture of your work space or a screenshot of a breaking news video. Doing a live shot? Show your followers the truck or introduce your photographer.
5. Don’t waste your audience’s time
It’s tempting to link back to your news organization’s site with every tweet, but followers will start to feel like they’re being spammed. “I always try to choose (retweet) news that I think people would be interested in,” Ketz said. And he does this, even when the information isn’t coming from KMBC.
Even if the tweet doesn’t lead back to your website, users will remember the accounts that give them accurate, useful information quickly and consistently.
Try this: Retweet other news organizations’ tweets from time to time (like @BreakingNews) and give local journalists who aren’t part of your company Follow Friday love from time to time.
Have any other tips? Help start a running list by sharing them in the comments.