February 25, 2016

How reporters use social media, today’s mass media

By Amanda Kerr, Consociate Media Writer and Media Strategist

Just three years after Harvard College student Mark Zuckerberg and three of his roommates launched a website to connect fellow students through the world wide web, a seminal media moment occurred immediately following the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007. A lone gunman murdered 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech and in the aftermath the press harnessed the reach and power of social media in new ways.

Reporters at The Washington Post used websites such as Facebook and Craigslist to quickly locate students connected to the tragedy. Messages students posted through Facebook were compiled in a story and names of victims appeared on The Washington Post’s website before they had even been released by authorities.

Facebook and other social mediums have become tools for the media to not only find people and contact them, but also to reach new and wider audiences. The very nature of Facebook — what was once meant to be a fun way for people to “socialize” on the Internet — has evolved and today it has become one of the leading ways younger audiences consume news.

Newspapers, magazines, blogs and television news stations use social media to promote stories and engage with readers and viewers. It started off simply enough, maybe a post teasing an upcoming weekend feature or a few links to breaking stories, but has since expanded to the widespread use of linking comment sections on articles to Facebook profiles, for example.

With the advent of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and others, including storytelling methods such as podcasting, the way in which reporters both report and gather the news has dramatically changed in the 12 years since the launch of Facebook.

What does that mean? For starters, social media has afforded reporters the opportunity to do a lot more reconnaissance on a subject, organization, business or person than just looking for a phone number on whitepages.com. Social media has become a go to place for local governments, school districts, businesses and nonprofits to promote events, share news and engage with customers and citizens.

With all that activity on social media, that’s where reporters are going first to look for the latest news on a company or organization.

It’s no longer just an obligation for businesses and organizations to throw up a few posts; social media is an essential part of a larger communications strategy.

Newshounds can track down supporters of a gun rights group, garden club, local business or school using social media. They can research social media channels to better understand an organization’s current projects, values or messaging. And they can use that trail to cast a wide net to find the best leads and the best stories.

Reporters, however, no longer passively use social media as voyeurs. The multimedia options available offer an entirely new platform for storytelling, whether it’s breaking news, photos, video, or abbreviated posts in the form of tweets. There are myriad ways to use social media to enhance a traditional newspaper, radio, or television story that helps give the audience another perspective.

That same approach can help a commercial real estate firm, apparel company or app developer engage customers through blog posts, social media campaigns and behind the scenes photos and video that tell their story and sell their brand.

Using social media to sell a brand isn’t something reserved for just traditional retail businesses. The various social media platforms allow media outlets and reporters to sell their news brand too, be it a newspaper, television i-Team, major news network, radio station or podcast.

The technology also gives reporters the opportunity to brand themselves. And it gives readers a more intimate perspective of their interests. Reporters can personalize posts by sharing a national news story that matters to them, or describing how a tornado has affected their own neighborhoods. That branding is good for engaging very distractible audiences who are bombarded by a host of competing media interests.

There’s something else, too. Social media allows reporters to actually connect with readers or viewers in real time. They can answer questions or respond to feedback. Reporters often use social media to connect with potential sources as well through Twitter direct message and Facebook messenger. The technology makes it easier than ever to reach out and connect.

The opportunities for generating story ideas over social media are endless. There are as many potential stories as there are social media users.

If businesses and organizations aren’t using social media to its fullest potential, there’s a good chance customers and clients won’t hear that message – and reporters won’t see it either.

It goes beyond just having things to post on Facebook and Twitter. Businesses, organizations and media outlets alike have to be present. They have to be relevant. They have to be accessible.

The world of mass media has been forever altered, going from a handful of Harvard students who wanted to connect socially on a website initially called “thefacebook” to a new media giant — just plain old “Facebook” — that has reshaped the world of news gathering, information dissemination and interaction.

What hasn’t changed, however, is connecting with people and sharing the stories of the world around us.

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A principle. Less is more. Briefly.

By Matt Sabo, Consociate Media Writer and Strategist

It’s so tempting.

You have mad skills.

You ooze creativity.

You don’t need coffee. In the morning. Or ever. Really.

You know stuff.

You do stuff.

You make stuff better. With your eyes closed.

You’re so good. Sometimes you can’t stop.

You just. Can’t be contained.

That’s why. It’s tempting. So tempting. To add more you. In everything.

It’s precisely why. Why you never Tweet. Because let’s face it. 140 characters? So limiting. It quenches your quintessence.

So. Your rules. Are their rules.

Less is never more. Less sucks. You like to add. Because subtracting great from greatness. Leaves you ness. Nobody wants ness.

Your emails are longer. Because what you say? So freaking stupendous. The stuff you write. Even if it’s a lot. Makes everyone smarter.

Your meetings are longer. Because what you say? So freaking stupendous. The stuff you say. Even if it’s long-winded. Makes employees better.

Your presentations? Middle East peace negotiations. Can take less time. You put the power. In PowerPoint. Which means. Order in lunch. For your presentations. Because they are powerful. Maybe. Just maybe. Even powerfully long.

One thing though. What if? Yes. What if less is better?

Could you? Do less? Like …

Don’t cc.

Step back. From the PowerPoint.

Talk less.

Practice minimalism. In everything.

Especially your emails.

And your meetings.

In fact. Cancel stuff.

Like meetings.

See what happens.

To like. Productivity. Yours. And theirs.

One other thing.

Start Tweeting. It’s good practice.

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Why podcasting is an effective marketing tool

By Matt Sabo, Consociate Media Lead Writer and Media Strategist

We are wired to tell and listen to stories, an ancient method of communication that we’ve used for millennia to help make sense of the world around us.

We relate to stories. We gain insights, arrive at conclusions and learn from them. We experience the range of emotions through storytelling. We marvel, we may be surprised or shocked and we may react in anger or sadness. Often we tell stories to entertain and laugh.

Stories are a way to shrink a very big world and make connections in previously unimaginable ways that cross culture, gender, demographics and even societal status. As a marketing tool, stories are essential to connecting with an audience, whether it’s broad or targeted.

But stories are worthless without an audience; their very purpose is to share. Which makes podcasting a natural fit as a marketing tool to connect with an expansive new audience. It’s verbal storytelling reimagined, repurposed and recast.

One of the beauties of podcasting is its mobility and accessibility, making it a marketing dream. With the advent of smartphones, a podcast can be listened to anywhere — in a car, at an office, in a coffee shop, on a treadmill and a host of other places and even during a host of other activities.

Podcasters can use it as a tool to mold and shape their brand because they can control the message. They can also reach new, untapped audiences and connect with them in inventive ways.

Podcasting is a means to elevating a company’s brand and raising the profile of company executives. By telling their stories, hearing their musings on their successes and failures, what they are focused on, what they value in employees, industry trends — do you get the idea that there’s an endless supply of potential podcast subjects — you can take the audience on a journey inside the company’s walls.

You can also engage with an audience, soliciting questions and comments and building a rapport that you can’t get in other spaces. It’s also a direct line to customers, partners, potential patrons or clients and others.

Another selling point of podcasting is it helps cultivate a company’s cross-pollination efforts by incorporating other social media elements. It can widen a company’s reach as well by reaching out to contacts inside — and even outside — its industry to highlight trends, divulge what’s new, predict the future, tell war stories, frame discussions and offer insights into other topics of interest.

Before getting started, however, there are a couple of essentials to launching a successful podcast. Quality is key and it’s well worth the money — which can be surprisingly inexpensive at an investment under $1,000 — to ensure you have a podcast that sounds professional.

Also, have at least three to five podcast episodes edited and ready to upload and launch a social media blitz in conjunction with their release. You want to get noticed — there’s no point in making the time and effort to do podcasting if no one is listening — and use the tools at your disposal to drive traffic both to your podcast and from your podcast to a website and social media channels.

The times have certainly changed but whether it’s oral storytelling traditions in primitive cultures or podcasting, the story is still the same: It’s about the story.

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The Gratitude Frequency

Guest Blog Post By Rico Delargo

Rico, Mark Harris (Consociate Web Designer), Kelly Marderosian (Consociate Social Media Manager) and Stephanie Heinatz (Consociate Founder) went to high school together and ever since we’ve been honored to follow his successes and launch of Lifestyle Supreme (read more below). We’re even more honored he took the time to share with us this, his take on the gratitude frequency, and his mission to enhance people’s lives in positive and meaningful ways. 

Each morning, I take a few minutes to tilt my face towards the sun with my eyes closed and swim in a pool of gratitude.

Living a passion-fueled lifestyle has allowed me to experience so many unbelievable moments and I genuinely believe that giving thanks for those moments is the key to multiplying them. The kinder we are, the more thankful we are, the more prone we are to staying on a frequency that allows us to experience utmost joy and bliss.

After doing laps around the country for seven years as a professional musician, I returned to Las Vegas in search of some answers. I had studied music, taught high school, attained my master’s degree, worked for a cool lifestyle marketing agency and accomplished my dream of being a touring musician. I would ask myself several questions daily. Deep thoughts about my existence and the purpose for my everyday life were all rabbit holes I was diving head first into. I continue to travel down those paths and the more I explore, the more I learn about myself and others.

My everyday life, my reason for living and my contribution to humanity are all focused in one direction. I am here to enrich people’s lives. Whether it’s done through a speaking engagement for kids at a public school or an experience curated to fuel engagement amongst guests, the mission remains the same. I wish to inspire, motivate, affect and enhance the vibe of the people around me and beyond. This is my purpose. How can I affect someone’s life in a positive way TODAY?

Like anyone else, I endure the ebb and flow of life. Yin and Yang. Balance truly is everything. As we endure what I call the “Upgrade Era” where everyone wants better, faster, nicer, and more efficient, I’m putting daily focus on balance, gratitude and kindness. Instead of searching for “happiness”, I believe we should practice harmonizing with the peace within ourselves. That is the frequency that allows us to enjoy all of the beauty and joy that surrounds us each day.

If we embrace this logic, we are opening a plethora of doors filled with opportunities. Upgrading our level of awareness would be a worthy cause. Turning down all the white noise (the stuff that truly doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of our lives) allows us the ability to see, hear and feel those opportunities zipping by our faces. Just listen.

ABOUT RICO DELARGO:

Rico DeLargo has been touring the country and beyond as a professional trumpet player performing alongside DJs at some of the top nightlife destinations in the world for almost a decade. He is well versed in experiential marketing and has recently worked with lifestyle brands zappos.com and Don Julio Tequila as an experience curator. His passion project, Lifestyle Supreme provides unique, lifestyle enhancing experiences for individuals and small groups nationwide.

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