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Facebook Page Tactic: Live News Release


One thing is for sure about the people who use social media and follow your department's Facebook page; They don't have the "social time" to read news releases which are written for the news media. Too many times, we see departments still writing their news releases in a manner for the newsroom editor, and not for the public.

People want real, authentic, and genuine news passed on to them in their social media feeds. Everyone, including my colleagues and I, will stop reading a news release as soon as it appears the department is only pushing out information because they have to, as opposed to wanting to inform the community of the latest news.

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Social Time and Facebook Algorithm Update

I used the term "social time" above to describe the reading of content on social media. There is so much content pushed by friends, family, acquaintances, businesses, your kid's schools, your favorite sports teams, news agencies, government agencies, and social media influencers, that you only have so much time to take it all in.

In fact, people's time on social media has not risen at a consistent level as the level of content published on social media today. There are still 24 hours in a day, with six to eight of those hours dedicated to sleep. Take into account working an 8 to 12-hour job, and that leaves you with at least 4 hours to eat, workout and surf social and the web (because NO ONE uses social media when they're on the clock, right?). The point I'm trying to make is we have do not have more time to read the increase in content than we had five years ago.

When we take into account Mark Zuckerberg's announcement on January 11, 2018, in which he told the world, he recognized the fact people want to have more quality time on Facebook, and they were tired of seeing the videos and ads from businesses and pages overrunning their news feed. So with peoples desire to see real content, people's limited time, and Facebook's algorithm change, law enforcement has to embrace new ways of connecting with their followers on Facebook. One of those ways is to publish "Live" News Releases.

"Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too."

by Mark Zuckerberg

The Live News Release

A Live news release simply means you use the Facebook Live feature and update your followers on what you want to tell them. You are now speaking the news release, as opposed to having them read it.
Here are some tricks to help you complete a live news release:

  • Make sure to be in a room which has good sound characteristics. The inside of a patrol car works amazingly well if you don't have an external microphone. Remember, people will not watch your video if your sound is terrible.
  • Use an easel, whiteboard, or paper (taped on an area near the camera lens, with bullet points of the key points you wish to make about the news release. Don't write a script and try to read it. For 90% of us in law enforcement, we don't have the experience of memorizing or learning a script in front of the camera. Use the key points to remind you what you need to say next.
  • Speak naturally, just as you were telling what happened to a friend or family member (absent the typical cop sarcasm, f-bombs, and cop jargon). Don't try to speak "legalese" or "official." The fact that you're in uniform on your department's Facebook page is official enough. 
  • Make sure always to leave them a "CTA," or call to action. When you give someone something to do, they're more inclined to do it, if it applies to them. "If you have any information about this crime, please call (555) 124-4567."
  • Now to add an extra boost to your video, you should add a comment or question for your audience, which will spur authentic engagement. "Have you talked to your children about the dangers of walking home alone?" or "Do you lock your windows and doors before going to work?" are good examples.

Please keep in mind though; Facebook will demote your post if you use any baiting tactic. Asking people to tag friends ("tag-baiting") or to share the post ("share-baiting) will not only limit your news article from being seen but with enough demotions, may have drastic consequences on all future posts on Facebook.

Why Not Just Video?

Zuckerberg stated, "We've seen people interact way more with live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching the video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience." He also wrote that "The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people, we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good."

Facebook is merely putting it out there, that live video is what they will push in the news feed, and what users want to see, and most likely, will engage with on Facebook.

Add The Written Version and Activate Captions

In the text area of your post, you may want to add in the traditional written version of the news release.  Add captions to your video once it is uploaded, by clicking on the captions tab when editing the video. Go through the video and make sure the captions are in alignment with the timing of the video.

Want To Learn How To Do This?

Law enforcement social media is different than the rest of the world's use of social media. Police departments who use social media are under a different set of rules and different mission. You can learn live video skills, editing, and captions in our Advanced Social Media; Video and Graphics training we frequently teach. Click here to see our list of upcoming classes.

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