While there is value to The Orion and its audience in the posts themselves (they are good ways to deliver news and information), it's more important to the success of the paper to use social media to lead readers to the website, where they can get a full story or video and then stick around to view more content.
I think each social medium has its strengths.
• Twitter is best at getting news to the audience quickly and providing a link to more information as soon as it's posted online. That's why it makes sense for reporters to post information about stories while they develop and link to finished stories when they're posted online.
• Snapchat and Instagram are good for self-promotion, but not so great at delivering traffic to a website.
• Facebook, for my money, is the best tool for engaging readers and getting them more involved in website content. But Facebook posts need to be carefully constructed to do that, and social-media managers need to actively manage their Facebook feed for engagement to be effective.
Here are some examples of posts I created from recent Orion content that might help improve paper's Facebook effort.
This is an actual post from Jan. 30 in which a reader is asking a question about the way the website works (or doesn't work). It should have received a response as soon as the PR team or other manager saw the query but didn't. I added what would have been an appropriate comment. This is what I mean when I say managers need to actively manage the Facebook page.
My idea here is to get readers thinking about their own Valentine's experiences and then give them a place to react to either the Facebook post or the column. In either case, they're more likely to click through to the column with this prompt than just the Facebook-provided description of the original piece.
Andrew Baumgartner wrote a really nice piece about a book-signing event. The readers most interested in the book will probably be fans of Coach Greg Clink and the players on that 2015-16 team. By asking for their memories, this post lets them know about the book but also gives them an opportunity to share their experiences.
Asking Facebook visitors about their experience at the concert actually extends the story about the BMU's experiment with live programming. Students who read the comments will have a better idea than the story could convey about whether BMU concerts are a good idea and will have more information about whether it's something they might want to do. Taking text out of the bottom third of the original story to emphasize the volunteer aspect engages students who might read more to find out how to volunteer.
These types of posts take a little more time than just letting Facebook pick up images and text from a URL, but they have a higher probability of being read, getting people to click through to the original stories and inspiring readers to share the content with their friends.