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Twitter mandates?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by beanpole, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    A buddy of mine works for a Gannett paper that not only tells him how often to Tweet, but also requires him to grow a specific percentage of Twitter followers per month. I don't know what it is or what happens if he doesn't get his number, but he was begging his FB friends to follow him because he was a little short.

    Is this common? And screw you, Gannett. :mad:
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Common, I don't know? For Gannett? Par for the course.

    If it's your friend's own personal Twitter account instead of work's, and your friend wants to get them off his case, he should remind them that he's not searching for any followers off the clock.
  3. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    Once you've saturated your market, how are you going to keep gaining followers? For example, a small college beat writer will only get so many followers because only so many people care about Podunk State. You'll gain a large number of followers early before gaining just a few here and there later. Some players or students will follow you, but will they keep doing so when they graduate?

    Why don't the higher-ups have percentage increase mandates for subscriptions?
  4. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Curious what the requirements were for gains in following. You hear a lot about xx tweets per day/week, but rarely a mandate on increasing followers ...
  5. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    My Gannett outpost has no such Twitter mandate. Our current push is for video views, where we have a monthly quota.

    We had a contest to reach 500 followers late last year (?) with an actual cash prize. (At least, that's what I thought it was, and since our sports department's feed was pretty close I figured we were a shoe-in -- but then it turned out that we had to add 500 new followers after the contest was announced. :-\)

    As I've posted before, a friend at a McClatchy paper was required to start a Twitter feed and given mandatory quotas per week. Since she rarely posts links, I'm not sure how that's driving pageviews.

    A local Newhouse paper told its high school staff NOT to Tweet for just that reason. They stress "live blogs" which are not really live, and usually can be followed by refreshing a single page periodically rather than clicking multiple pages. I'm not sure how that works for revenue generation either, since we've been told that we need unique visitors.
  6. ringer

    ringer Member

    It's odd logic.

    If they're judging on percentage gains, then they're essentially saying that it would be best to start the job with zero followers because the percentage gain would be greater from the outset.

    I'd also want to know what the paper's sales & promotions dept. is doing in return to give the writer wider exposure. Gannett's a huge chain -- more powerful than one writer's twitter account.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    PaperDoll, do your videos have commercials and is the monthly quota based on number of views or minutes online?
  8. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Can't imagine that being a Gannett mandate, rather a mandate by the editors at that Gannett paper.

    I'm wither PaperDoll. Also at a Gannett site and our focus right now is on videos. Everyone must do two per month, which is not hard at all. You should be thinking "what can I get, visually?" with all stories, anyway. Out on assignment? Shoot a little B-roll, interview a few folks. Boom. Video is done.

    Twitter followers will come with time and consistency on your beat. Following 2,000 people so they'll follow you doesn't do yourself any good. Do your job, report, Tweet and the followers will come.
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but Gannett doesn't want to be patient. They want results, the numbers, right now.
  10. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    Exactly. They are focused on the metrics rather than the journalism. Again.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    A social media manager I know was once asked "how do I get more followers" and she said "follow more people." No thanks. I would love more followers for the account I run for a side gig, but I can't do much more than what I'm doing. It's not "my" account, so I can't just spout off stupid stuff to troll for followers.
  12. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I hate that strategy and am so thankful my co-workers, including ed staff and social media/engagement editor, don't take that approach. A reporter at my old shop was bragging about having 2,000 followers. I asked her how many people she followed. 3,500.

    Just having Twitter followers doesn't do you any good if they're following you because you're following them. If that's the case, you're not reaching the people you need to. It's random folks across the globe who could care less about what you're posting.

    I'm following 296 people right now while being followed by 1,283. It's not a huge number, but significant. Each time I creep closer to 300, I see if there are any accounts I really don't need to follow anymore. Twitter is a huge tool for me for getting news about my beat or beat-related topics. I don't need my feed cluttered with random garbage/spam. Plus, it's helped me build a great relationship with the other men's basketball beat reporters around the Mountain West. Guys I only hear talk once a week on the conference call become people I look forward to seeing traveling to road games. It's a great tool if you use it properly.

    Put some personality in there. Don't make it 100 percent news. For the first time in our field's history, we have a chance to have an actual relationship with our readership, thanks to social media. To me, that is incredible when you think about it. Just yesterday, I got a Tweet from a follower I had never met before who said his team was playing our's in softball that night. We talked after the game, and it felt nice to know, one way or another, you're making an impact with your readership.

    Don't follow a million people to get a 33 percent return in followers. It doesn't do anyone any good. Even if your follower count is high, if the interaction rate is low, that's not a good sign. Interact with your followers. They appreciate it more than most realize.
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