MPA conference presents “Making Social Media Work for You’

At the Michigan Press Association’s annual conference Jan. 27 at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids,

Gov. Rick Snyder was the keynote speak at the Michigan Press Association conference.

after a luncheon featuring Gov. Rick Snyder as the keynote speaker, social media was among the topics reporters, editors and publishers were interested in. Matt Resch moderated a panel discussion looking at social media — how it’s used now and speculating how it will be used in the future. The panel was billed as being composed of “a college student, a young newspaper entrepreneur and others who understand the importance of new technology for reaching out to readers and advertisers.”

Journal Register Company’s own Rick Kelley was among the panelists speaking on social media.

Resch referred the audience to “Social Media is a Cocktail Party,” written by a social media consultant who advises large companies on social media efforts. The book explains how people use it and interact with it. The book notes a lot of simple rules: The party will go on whether you are there or not and the same is true with social media. It will go on whether you decide to be part of the conversation or not. You first get to “the party,” listen and see where you fit in. Jump in and speak in circles where you feel comfortable. Don’t be slick or fake, because people can sniff it out and walk away.

News media is the content provider. Look at Twitter or Facebook pages and they have links and topics coming from content providers, Resch said.

Social media strategy important, panelists say. How has audience influenced how you have inserted social media in your business plan. Kelley said we have two audiences: print and online. Knowing we have two audiences allow us to do a better job of targeting. Look at platform demographic, not just age demographic.

It’s about engaging the audience through social media. Facebook polls allow topics and questions to go viral. Find comfort level of readers. Ask people to “like” you. This will drive you to top of news feed.

Resch asked who owns social media accounts: news organization or individuals? Kelley says the law is not keeping up and it will be a major issue as case law sorts out this and other related questions.

Tweeps follow you for a particular reason: They find value in what you’re tweeting, whether news links or particular interests or insights. Panelist notes that the beauty of social media is held in transparency. It’s evolving and moving faster than we can keep up with. One panelist says business owns its account but individual accounts held by the individual.

Twitter account Panelist Kate Jacobson, editor in chief at Michigan State University’s State News, says it’s fun to produce multimedia journalism — to do audio, video, social media, use smartphones in the field while posting breaking news.

Multimedia element should be different than story. Don’t repeat the story. Should be a sidebar of sorts, Jacobson said.

Let people behind the scenes to see how the newspaper industry works. Let them into your editorial meetings. It’s about transparency.

A lot of people don’t understand their privacy settings. People need to learn about privacy issues on social media, one panelist said.

Community Media Lab and citizen journalists discussion prompted by Kelley brought some questions from the audience about libel and potential lawsuits when you’re dealing with people who are not trained journalists. One audience member said she thought in the future it will be the citizen journalists who will be held liable, not the news organization, just as bloggers are responsible for their content.

Mashable.com best resource for social media do’s and don’ts, one panelist said

Tips from panelist

Spotify playlist for local musicians; fashion editor should have an account on pintrist; photographers should shoot behind-the-scenes photos using smartphone and upload to Instagram. These are social media tools and they are designed for sharing. Suggested staying active on Twitter. You can create filters on TweetDeck to customize news feeds.

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