This is an excerpt from a post I wrote for Mashable.com:
Journalism is supposed to be a conversation, but often news websites don’t provide the tools for that conversation to take place. Implementing social media tools and allowing readers to connect to the organization through Twitter, Facebook () and other networks, can make it easier for users to engage with the news content and their community members. However, some fundamental tools that allow readers to share content through social media are not being utilized. A recent study that looked at almost 200 newspapers and TV stations with Twitter accounts found that only a third offered readers a way to share a story link using Twitter, while 80 percent provided a Facebook sharing button.
Making it easier for readers to comment, take part in live chats and in some cases even contribute user-generated blogs can enhance the conversation and strengthen the relationship between the news organization and its audience. Here are a few tips on how a news website can become more social and examples of how some news organizations are doing it. Of course this isn’t comprehensive, so we’d love to hear about some innovative examples and successes about your sites in the comments below.
1. “Connect With Us” Links and Directories
Though many news organizations have a social media presence, their websites often bury the links that would allow readers to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Featuring these links prominently on a site can ultimately build a stronger presence on these networks and bring more traffic back to the site.
For example, CNN and The New York Times, news organizations that have a very large presence on social sites, do not feature easy-to-find links on the front page for users to connect. Of course these sites have a lot of content to feature, but offering those social connection links prominently can help create a lasting social relationship that brings readers back to the site.
Some news sites like The Wall Street Journal provide a Twitter link in their footer along with their other tools, which is a step in the right direction, but could be even more prominently placed. The Denver Post website includes a sidebar item titled “Follow the Denver Post,” which includes a link to its Facebook and Twitter pages and links to other connections.
Read the full post here.