With more and more Daily Press readers using our Facebook page as a supplemental way to get information to the public, another explanation on how to streamline the process seems in order. Here, brevity is the key.
While we continue to run full-length press releases in the print and e-editions that have been submitted by readers, institutions and businesses in our community, we’ve necessarily had to limit the length of Facebook posts. One reason is because we’ve learned – as have many other Facebook users – that lengthy posts often do not get read.
Social media users pick up their information on the fly, and they’re generally interested in only the basic details: the “who, what, when, where and how” that journalists are taught to put in the “lede” – the first paragraph – of their stories. So as a general rule of thumb, we try not to post briefs that are so long that a reader has to click “See More” to get the rest of the story. We’ve found most people don’t bother to click.
Another thing we’ve learned from our Facebook “friends” is they don’t like to be inundated with dozens of posts each day. Not only do they want us to keep posts brief, they’d prefer we only post especially pertinent stuff so as not to clog up their news feeds. That’s why our 6,365 friends (at this writing!) can expect to see twice-daily updates on what we’ll have in the next day’s edition; regular updates, as needed, on breaking news stories; reminders of polls and other information on our website; our Saturday Forum, and other platforms for interactive discussion; links to especially noteworthy staff-produced stories; and announcements of upcoming community events.
That last item – the community events – is where you, our readers, come in. We limit these posts to events that will be of general interest to the community at-large, and they must be of a nonprofit nature. For instance, a couple of businesses have asked us to post announcements of sales. That type of material is considered “advertising,” as opposed to news.
There are two ways to get a brief on our Facebook page. One is to email us the brief for publication in the print and e-editions, and then request that the brief also be posted on Facebook. The second way is to send us a private message on our Facebook page, which is at www.facebook.com/tdpress. We ask that readers not use the “recommendations” feature on Facebook; those are automatically deleted and therefore are not available for public perusal. When people make posts on other posts that are completely unrelated, we also remove those.
We many post a brief when we initially receive it, and then once again, a day or two before the event, as a reminder. Because our small staff simply doesn’t have time to man our Facebook page 24/7, and also because we don’t want to clog the news feed for our “friends,” we must necessarily impose limits on how many times a given item can be posted.
Those reasons are also the basis of our request that posts through private message on Facebook should be received at least 24 hours in advance of the event, and 48 hours if on a weekend. Although we monitor the page regularly, a post received at, say, 10 p.m. on a Saturday night for an event taking place at 1 p.m. Sunday might not be seen by one of us until it’s too late. Remember, the more time you give us to promote your event, the more people we can expect to see it.
We’ve been told by many people that are Facebook postings have boosted attendance at their events, especially among the younger crowd. So we urge you to take advantage of this feature. We also know many older folks shy away from social media, but for now, it’s “here” and it’s “now,” and as long as that’s the case, it behooves all of us to use that platform, as well as any others that can grab public attention.