When it comes to Facebook, TV stations are finding inventive, new ways to generate high engagement. Social Scorecard this week reveals how WXIN, Tribune’s Fox affiliate in Indianapolis, uses search tools to find local stories. But that’s only part of its strategy. Facebook Live and inventive use of resources also contribute to its high engagement. WXIN […]
Social Scorecard this week reveals how WXIN, Tribune’s Fox affiliate in Indianapolis, uses search tools to find local stories. But that’s only part of its strategy. Facebook Live and inventive use of resources also contribute to its high engagement.
WXIN leads in social media actions in the market over the last six months, according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.
WXIN has more than 5.8 million actions on social, 34% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 28), with more than 17.1 million social actions.
WXIN also lead on Instagram with more than 112,000 actions.
WTHR, the market’s NBC affiliate owned by Dispatch Broadcast, led the market on actions per post with 337.
The Indianapolis Star, a daily newspaper owned by Gannett, led on Twitter with more than 170,000 actions.
Amanda Rakes, WXIN’s digital director, says part of the station’s success on Facebook is due to using different search tools to find those stories their local audience would really care about, even when it’s a news event not taking place in their market.
“Hurricanes come to mind with me,” says Rakes. “Our market wasn’t affected by it. Using search tools, we found we were able to find a young man who was stranded in the Virgin Islands. But he surveyed the damage for us, sent us photos and we were able to really develop a local angle.”
When the weather is severe locally, WXIN finds that Facebook Live generates huge engagement.
“Last October we had seven tornados in Indianapolis,” says Rakes. “I got so many e-mails from the public saying I was in my basement on my phone watching you guys on Facebook and to me that’s why we do this. That’s the biggest impact that I think we can have when it comes to local weather safety.”
Another way WXIN uses Facebook Live is when there is breaking news like the murder of two 14-year-old girls.
Rakes says when there is a big breaking news story, the station doesn’t hesitate to use its Facebook page to break the story. Like the Jared Fogle story.
“We were the first station nationally to break that news. We push alerted it, we put it out on our Facebook page. We had it out everywhere and we owned the story.”
Rakes says some of the search tools the station uses are CrowdTangle, Social News Desk, local Reddit pages and paying close attention to the station’s own Facebook inbox.
“We found a Facebook post of a woman who had talked about how she knew a farmer who had lost his granddaughter in an unfortunate accident. We were able to find out that all of these farmers came to help this one grieving farmer who wasn’t able to finish his harvest.”
Rakes says WXIN has a digital reporter who can go mobile for Facebook stories.
“There was a program that was happening at one of our local hospitals. She found the story and it had the highest engagement for the week.”
“Each day, she submits a plan to me and we discuss her idea and how it looks on each social platform,” says Rakes.
Sometimes, Rakes says, being aware of the interests of your staff can lead to content that gets high engagement.
“One of my web producers loves to bake, so I wanted to capitalize on that. We tied it into our fun morning show. The videos get great engagement.”