Facebook Outlines Best Practices For Journalists

By Justin Lafferty 

As the recent tragedy in Boston showed, Facebook can be a valuable resource for journalists looking to spread the news, as well as to connect with readers and sources. Facebook recently published a thorough guide outlining the best practices for reporters on the social network.

If a journalist wants to have a presence on Facebook, they first have to decide if they want to open up their own Timeline to followers or create a page. By turning on the follow feature, it allows journalists to put out news to those who are interested without having to add them as friends.

Facebook also recommends that journalists choose a professional profile photo and a relevant cover photo. It used WGN’s Nancy Loo as an example.

Just like how news sources choose an easy-to-remember domain name, journalists on Facebook should be easy to find. Changing your user name to something simple like your real name and making sure that you’re publicly searchable will go a long way. Filling out the about section will help readers know that it really is you.

Facebook also recommends that journalists use the site to break news, similar to how the Boston Globe‘s Steve Silva posted shortly after the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon. Other reporters used Facebook to update stories, without Twitter’s 140-character constraint, and with multiple photos.

Readers also love it when journalists take them behind-the-scenes and offer insight not found in the story. Facebook recommends that journalists add some analysis when they post stories, giving it an exclusive touch. It can also be used as a way to gain feedback and story ideas, by asking questions that further draw the reader in.

Journalists can also use photos to give readers a glimpse at the story behind the story.

The full guide, featuring tons of best practices, is available here.

Readers: Which journalists use Facebook the best?