Facebook is the biggest social media platform in Sweden, and Facebook use continues to rise. Almost 74 per cent of internet users in Sweden use Facebook and more than half (53 per cent) do so daily according to the report Swedes and the Internet (Svenskarna och internet), 2017.
Up to the age of 55, just over two thirds of Facebook users in Sweden participate in groups on Facebook, and whether you are looking for broad or narrow interest groups, there is just about everything there – from what is happening in swedish cities and towns like Höör, Umeå or Borås, to hunting, ornamental plants, and a wealth of political discussion forums. Read more about this under the Groups tab.
Facebook is the platform that most Swedish editorial offices and media corporations focus on to reach the audience and disseminate their content and Swedish Radio is no exception. Most of SR’s newsrooms/departments have their own Facebook pages of varying size and character.
Facebook is the right platform if:
You want to talk to your audience. Two out of three adults are on Facebook and by having a presence on the platform you have the opportunity to engage in dialogue and stimulate audience participation.
You want to reach out to your audience with varied and stimulating content. Facebook is by far the largest traffic driver among the social media platforms.
Your newsroom/department has a clear niche: electronic music, horticulture, or a minority language. Facebook is then a great means of community building (a knowledgeable and engaged audience).
Your newsroom/department is on the hunt for participants and people to interview with expert knowledge or their own experiences. Facebook is a good tool for researching people, long-term and short-term.
In the example above, the podcast Snedtänkt asks the audience for help to verify a Tage Danielsson (swedish filmmaker and comedian) quote from 1979, and gets answers in the comments field (it’s from the variety show Under dubbelgöken).
HOW TO SUCCEED ON FACEBOOK
Determine your newsroom’s/department’s identity.
Tell the whole story in your post.
Interact regularly with your audience and build communities.
If you use video: be careful about the sound, lighting and dramaturgy.
Post things continuously.
Measure and analyse qualitatively, not just reach.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: WHO ARE YOU?
Talk through what you want your presence on Facebook to signal to the audience. Identify your strengths and build on them when deciding on your newsroom’s/department’s identity on Facebook. If you can sum up what you stand for and what you want to achieve in two sentences it will also be clear to your audience what they can expect from you.
Are you the bestin Sweden on classical music? Horticulture? Mental illness? There are any number of opportunities for building a conversation space for those who are particularly interested in a topic.
Do you want to be the obvious choice for your geographical area? Show the audience that your Facebook page is an extension of what they hear on the radio.
Are you the best at news? Over half of all Facebook users get their news from there.
THE POST: FORMULATING YOURSELF CORRECTLY
Facebook doesn’t have Twitter’s limited number of characters and just like other platforms, there are numerous options for combining text with other content: a link, photo and video clips or live video (more about this under the Facebook Live tab).
Text on social media usually works best with a personal touch rather than a formal tone. Experiment until you find a tone that you feel comfortable with and that fits your account’s persona. Try out different approaches to narrative and humour. In the example below: the witty approach is part of the Facebook success of the swedish historical museum Livrustkammaren(The Royal Armoury).
Sometimes two lines of text is enough if the picture speaks for itself or carries the post. At other times, it may be best to tell as much of the story as possible directly in the post.
If you choose to add a link to the post, you can be dead certain that large proportion of the audience will not click on your link. If you don’t tell enough about the content, you run the risk that those who write in the comments field will misinterpret or write about something they have not read or listened to – a common cause of comments fields becoming unruly. You can reduce this risk by giving the audience the chance to get the ‘whole story’ in the post without the need to click further, as in the example from news desk Ekot below.
When you package content from sverigesradio.se as a link in your Facebook post, think through how different elements function separately and in combination:
PHOTO: It often says it all. Arouse emotions! Angle your story! Clarify! It should make you sit up and take notice in a feed or feel familiar to you. (Read more here.)
TEXT IN PHOTOS. If the photo does not say it all, you might need to clarify for the audience.
LINK HEADLINE. Angle, angle, angle. The audience is very likely to share engaged journalism – BUT remember that we are not about click bait. A narrow angle must live up to its promise. TEXT IN THE POST. Presents what is on the other side of the link. Don’t say too little (see above) – be straightforward and tell the story. You can also ask relevant questions or otherwise encourage the audience to interact with you. Vary your texts in photos, the post and the headline! (Example below from the internet ghost story podcast Creepypodden.)
Comments fields are an extension of your newsroom’s/department’s journalism. This is where you encounter the audience’s reactions to what you publish, and this is where opportunities for further journalism arise.
Remember that the conversation can continue outside the newsroom’s/department’s own Facebook page, because it is easy to share posts and many people use this opportunity. A good rule of thumb is to think of the conversation with the audience like a sports event:
Home ground: Your own comments fields, instant messages via Messenger, visitor posts and reviews on your page.
Away ground: Where a person has shared your content and his/her comments, or where your material has been shared from a Facebook group.