Social media and platform resources for small, independent and nonprofit newsrooms
Note: This page was last updated in September 2019 and is intended only for members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), the Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, the NJ News Commons, the Colorado Media Project and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia organizations under a Facebook and Knight Foundation-supported program to enhance the social media skills of small, independent and nonprofit news organizations. The program is being coordinated by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.
In mid-2017, the Center for Cooperative Media launched a project funded by Knight Foundation that aimed to help small, local, independent and nonprofit news organizations better utilize social media to grow audience and revenue.
The project was coordinated in partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Local Independent Online News Publishers organizations, as well as the Detroit Journalism Cooperative and the NJ News Commons. We began working closely with Facebook first through the Facebook Journalism Project.
Since then, the project has expanded quite a bit and will continue at least through the end of 2019. In addition to social media training, the program offers newsletter, analytics, membership and search engine optimization training. The program is now also open to members of the Colorado Media Project and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.
Below is a list of links to basic tools and channels you should know about as it relates to some of the major social platforms, as well as resources you have access to as part of this project.
1. Audience Development, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Newsletter, Analytics and Membership Fundamentals programs
In late 2017, we launched a project we called the Facebook Fundamentals desk. You can read more about it here. The program paired news orgs with consultants for one-on-one sessions focusing on basics for Facebook. In 2018, we expanded it to include more of a wider audience development fundamentals focus, as well as webinars specifically for Facebook and Google. Then in 2019 we added more sessions on newsletters, analytics, membership and LinkedIn.
Below are sessions currently available to INN, LION, DJC, NJNC, CMP and AAN members:
- Audience Development Fundamentals and open office hours: This program offers one-on-one sessions (up to three hours each) in which either consultant Ashley Woods Branch or Meena Thiruvengadam will walk through some of the basics you should consider when it comes to your overall audience strategy. You can also sign up for a shorter session if you have a specific question you want help with. Ashley and Meena’s bios are below. You can sign up with Ashley here and Meena here.
- Facebook Fundamentals: This program offers small-group webinars with a focus on Facebook.
- Google Fundamentals: This program offers small-group webinars with a focus on Google and search.
- LinkedIn Fundamentals: This program offers small-group webinars with a focus on LinkedIn.
- Newsletter Fundamentals: This program offers small-group webinars with a focus on growing newsletter subscriber lists.
- Analytics Fundamentals: This program offers small-group webinars with a focus on Google Analytics and segmenting your audience to put an emphasis on loyal readers.
- Membership Fundamentals: This program offers small-group webinars with a focus on membership programs for news and information entities.
2. A beginner’s guide to community-powered social media marketing
This series from Red Root Marketing offers short video lessons and downloadable templates with simple hyperlocal social media marketing strategies and techniques to help news organizations gain brand awareness, grow audiences and build community engagement. Lessons are organized by four simple milestones that every news organization needs to grow their audience. (Watch this video to get a sneak peek.) We have 15 passes to the courses, which are available on the Teachable platform. To request access to one of those 15 credentials, please email Stefanie Murray at [email protected].
3. Social media marketing: How to use Facebook, Instagram and YouTube’s ads and marketing platforms
We worked with Toya Wilson-Smith in 2018 and 2019 on an intensive series of training webinars designed to help you better leverage social media marketing platforms to grow your audience, email lists and revenue. We have offered a basic webinar for those just getting started, an intermediate webinar, and an advanced session, as well as open office hours and one-on-one coaching opportunities. The full documentation from those trainings is linked below under the “resources” section. We don’t have any paid social sessions planned for fall 2019, but if you are interested in joining one, contact Stefanie Murray at [email protected]. We’ll add sessions if there is enough interest!
Verification is one of the most common questions we get as part of this project, and it’s changed quite a bit over the last several years! We hosted a series of webinars to help you with this topic. You can also visit this tip sheet for more information, but note that we’ll be publishing a new and more updated tip sheet in September 2019.
5. Instant Articles, AMP and Apple News
As part of this project, we’re able to offer help from a developer for organizations who want to test Facebook’s Instant Articles, Google’s AMP or Apple News. Most of our work so far as been focused on Instant Articles and AMP. Visit this page to read more about what they offer (note this tipsheet doesn’t include the new subscription options available in some), as well as the pros and cons of each. If you are interested in help, please contact Stefanie Murray at [email protected].
6. One-on-one consulting
As part of this program, the Center for Cooperative Media has secured consultants who are available to work directly with INN, LION, DJC and NJNC organizations on audience development strategy relating to social platforms.
This program will pay for a limited number of hours of individual coaching for you with one of the consultants; hourly maximums vary by consultant. The consultants are listed below.
The consultants include:
- Susy Schultz, president of Public Narrative. Susy specializes in teaching new ways to engage the community in journalism and journalism with the community, especially using social platforms.
- David Beard, an independent consultant. Dave’s areas of expertise are growing audience for newsletters, developing alternate revenue streams, partnerships and overall content strategy.
- Ned Berke is an audience development strategist. He currently works with publications both global and local to innovate audience-driven business models in his roles at the Tow-Knight Center and the Center for Cooperative Media.
- Toya Wilson-Smith is the co-founder of NexGeneration Digital Marketing Agency, Inc. and developed Simply Social Marketing Academy, a social media marketing educational company to assist local business owners to leverage the internet to increase their brand awareness. With a background in corporate sales and a M.B.A. in marketing, Toya is known for her ability to simplify complex and fast changing technology topics to people of all ages and with various backgrounds.
- Martin Halo has taught at Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media since 2013. He specializes in digital media and content creation, including film and web. Martin also heads a creative agency, Percy Cole Media, which develops websites for small business and touring musicians based in New York, Nashville, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
- Ashley Woods Branch is the founder of Detour, a local news startup using email, social media and IRL events to build community, spotlight neighborhood-level issues and provide local news through an equitable perspective. She also coaches local, nonprofit and emerging news organizations on audience-focused strategies like: startup business plans, newsletters, membership programs, partnerships and social media marketing. Ashley previously led consumer experience and digital strategy at the Detroit Free Press and was the editor of HuffPost’s Detroit bureau. She is a 2019 Marshall Memorial Fellow, 2018 Information Accelerator winner, and a 2018 visiting Neiman Fellow at Harvard University.
- Meena Thiruvengadem is a digital strategy consultant who works at the intersection of audience and revenue. She has led global audience teams at Bloomberg and Business Insider, developing strategic partnerships and driving sharp increases in audience, revenue and traffic across platforms. She works closely with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, SmartNews and Flipboard. She has a track record of building audiences for a variety of publishers and journalists and training journalists in social media best practices.
- To request a consulting session, please contact Stefanie Murray at [email protected].
7. Twitter Training for Journalists
Twitter hosted a round of training for journalists in fall 2018, the first it had offered in a long time. More details are below. These webinars were open to any journalist. Replays are available below, and the password for all of them is midtermwebinars.
- Twitter Best Practices for Journalists
- Video & Live Best Practices For Journalists
- Safety & Security Tips For Journalists
- TweetDeck For Journalists
- Moments: Storytelling with Tweets
- If you are looking for general best practices, there are a number of great articles + examples here.
Resources we’ve compiled for you
The following links have been compiled as part of this project and will continue to be updated as we add more resources. If we’re missing a link you think should be added here, email Stefanie Murray at [email protected].
Articles we’ve written and documentation we’ve collected as part of this project include:
- Basic Facebook tips for NewsMatch participants
- 11 Facebook page optimizations for small publishers
- What small publishers need to know about Facebook’s policy on ads with political content
- Outcomes of our early Facebook Fundamentals program
- How to get CrowdTangle
- The basics of Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP and Apple News
- Verification basics for news publishers
- Navigating Facebook’s algorithm changes
- Introducing the Audience Explorer analytics dashboard for small and medium-size news publishers
- Instant Articles getting started playbook
- CrowdTangle optimization playbook
- Screenshots to help with establishing domain ownership of your links
- Setting up Facebook Pixel
Social media marketing documentation
Below you will find resources compiled from Toya Wilson-Smith’s basic, intermediate and advanced social media marketing webinars:
- Slides from the basic social media marketing webinar.
- Slides from the intermediate social media marketing webinar.
- Slides from the advanced social media marketing webinar.
- Videos about how to use Facebook advertising
- Document: Preparing Your FB Ad
- Document: Facebook Campaign Concept worksheet.
- Document: Facebook Advertising Strategies for News Professionals
- Slides from Introduction to Paid Social Media Marketing and Advanced Paid Social Media Marketing webinars (Videos can be found here from the intro session and the advanced session.)
- Document: 7 ways to fix your Facebook ads
- Document: How to determine which kind of Facebook ad you need
- Video: How to use Facebook ad targeting
Important info to know on Facebook
- Facebook News Publisher Resources page
- Training, tools and resources for journalists on Facebook
- Don’t forget: profiles and pages are two separate products, managed by two very different parts of the organization. Profiles are for people. Pages are for organizations.
- Facebook’s content and community policy
- News Feed publisher guidelines
- Register your news page with Facebook
Facebook communication channels — journalists
- Facebook’s News, Media and Publishing group
- Facebook Journalism Project
- The official Media Partner Support Portal. Access to this portal requires approval; if you don’t have access yet, we can get you signed up. Read this first before applying for access, then read this and if you’re a member of INN, LION, the DJC or NJNC, email Stefanie Murray at [email protected] to request access.
- Facebook media partnerships blog (sports, news, non-profits, entertainment case studies, strong content examples, etc.)
- Social Journalism group (not run by Facebook, but a very useful group for social media managers)
Facebook communication channels — general business
- Official company blog with page on latest company stats, leadership, big announcements
- Page insights (analytics) blog
- Facebook’s Social Good program
- Instagram for businesses
- Facebook 360 Community
Advertising on Facebook
- Facebook Blueprint, its business tools, training and case study repository (learn how to use the marketing tools and get Facebook Certified, learn about ad products, take audience insights courses, etc.)
- Guidelines for ad content
- Getting started with Facebook Branded Content
- FAQS on audience targeting for ads
- Facebook Business Manager
- How Facebook is handling ads with political content
Tools, training and other materials
- Facebook’s Business tools (there are a lot!) Especially if you scroll to the very bottom, the list in the footer is helpful
- Collection of Facebook links for publishers and media (bookmark this site!)
- Free online training courses and the Poynter Facebook for Journalists Certificate
- Instant Articles general information
- Instant Articles developer documentation
- More on Audience Insights
- What to do if you get hacked
- Facebook Pixel Blueprint course
- Pixel & Analytics Guide for Developers
- Installing FB pixel on WordPress and other third-party sites
Nonprofits on Facebook
Links you should review regarding Nonprofits on Facebook:
- First, you should be sure that one of the categories that your Facebook Page is set up as is “nonprofit” so you can be easily found when people search, and so you can register as a nonprofit on Facebook. Note that your page can have up to three different categories.
- Register as a nonprofit on Facebook. After you’ve done this, then you can activate the “Donate” button on your Facebook Page, which will allow you to accept donations via the platform, and then you can also enable the “Fundraiser” tab on your page, which will allow people to fundraise for you.
- Overview of Facebook’s fundraising tools.
- Tips for how to grab people’s attention on Facebook.
If you have any questions, let us know! Email Stefanie Murray at [email protected].
About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.