Hannah Bargery is the head of digital content for Cheshire and Merseyside at Newsquest. On the social media panel at Behind Local News, Hannah was asked about the role of social media in newsrooms and what could be improved. The questions were posed by Corinne Podger.
Did newsrooms put too many eggs in the Facebook basket?
Yes, I think perhaps we were maybe all guilty of focusing on Facebook and I think definitely Twitter was neglected during that period because the results were so obvious with Facebook.
The engagement was there and sometimes on Twitter you just feel like you’re putting these things out into a into a black hole because there’s so much there, and so many people that are following so many different accounts they can’t keep up with it.
But II think we’re starting to find more now and thanks to Chartbeat headline testing tools we’re learning the audience is on Twitter, and they’ll be loyal and keep coming back.
So it’s about focusing on Twitter more and trying to find and learning when they will look at our stuff. I would say generally you know your average person is not using Twitter during the day.
They’re more in the evening, time from the TV flicking through and that perhaps that’s why our content gets missed because we’re not doing stuff at those times.
What’s your advice to editors and managers to get the most out of social media for their brands?
You’ve just got to keep using it. You’ve just got to use it all the time and make sure you’re getting involved, seeing what your audience want ,what they’re following and what they tweet about.
Obviously with the trending tab [on twitter] we’ve got a really good idea every day what the topics are people are talking about.
So I think it’s just a case of just getting involved, making the most of it, learning from trial and error and understanding you never know first time if something is going to work, it’s just a case of giving it a go.
If something doesn’t work, ask what could have been done differently. Could we have got abetter response on a different day at a different time or is it just something that’s not working?
What’s your advice to editors about their involvement in social media?
You’ve got to get involved and get stuck in and try new things, like instagram.
The great thing about instagram stories is you straight away see what’s new on instagram. So that’s their running right in your face that you don’t feel like you’re missing out on any updates because it’s there straight away.
Also ask ‘how are people doing that?’ So I for one so have noticed everyone’s doing ‘threading’ on Twitter and asked ‘Oh how are they doing this’. It was the same with polls too.
What do providers of tools on social media need to do to interact with shopfloor journalists?
I think more than anything it’s about making journalists aware of what the tools are and how to use them.
Sometimes, we don’t know we have a problem until we see the solution.
For example I’ve only been using Crowdtangle the last few months and now I don’t really know how I did my job before without it.
Similarly with Chartbeat, the headline testing is remarkable. Previously you just use your news judgment and you looked at the stats and you went ‘Oh well can I know this is a better headline. It’s getting more hits.’ Whereas now you’ve got stats in much more depth.