Tips on using twitter as a journalist

I have been taking my time to study and learn how to make the best use of twitter, especially as a journalist. Here’s what I have learnt over time:

1. Tweet your beat: A journalist can increase Twitter engagement by tweeting regularly about the subjects he or she covers. “Our research shows that for people who post a concentrated number of Tweets in a short time span, follower growth is 50% more than average (1.5x),” writes Mark S. Luckie, Twitter’s Creative Content Manager for Journalism & News.

Mark adds that live-tweeting or posting updates about a news event related to your beat is one way to grow followers and increase interaction. This is absolutely true based on my personal experience.

2. Use hashtags for context: Journalists can use hashtags (the # symbol, immediately followed by the keyword related to the Tweet) to organize conversations, and engage with Twitter users discussing a particular topic. Again, Mark notes that tweets with hashtags can increase engagement almost 100% (2x) for individuals and 50% (1.5x) for brands. This applies well for journalists. I know I have had significant engagement rates just by using a simple hashtag.

3. Follow people of interests: These could be journalists or news organizations you admire, depending on your reason. For me, I follow a lot of international journalists, journalism instructors and organizations . I follow to listen and learn from them. I also follow newsworthy people who are potential sources for news.

Moving forward with Twitter

I hope to utilize twitter more effectively. And I imagine using the network to my journalistic advantage in the following ways:

1. Crowdsourcing: With a substantial following and a respectable level of engagement, my followers can provide answers to questions and help me find sources quickly for stories. Steve Buttry of Digital First Media notes that crowdsourcing is one of the ways Twitter is valuable to journalists.  This brings me to the next point.

2. Building a following: The larger the following, the higher the potential of reaching more audience. I believe a well engaged audience remains a valuable asset for any journalist who wants to reach out with his or her work. After all, we produce journalistic content because of the need to inform, and in the process, learn more through engagement with our audience.

3. Social Media Reporting: In addition to news distribution, Twitter and other social media platforms serve as a means to connect with sources. This is an area I intend improving upon. Interestingly, my online journalism course with RNTC comes handy with valuable resources.

4. Experimenting with social:  At the end of the day Twitter remains a social media platform. One must muster the strength to be social. Reply mentions. Contribute to conservations. Engage.  And of course experiment with ways of doing all these.



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