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BBG Considers Social Media Strategies

Aiming at attracting younger listeners

The Broadcasting Board of Governors at its monthly meeting this week said it plans to accelerate its expansion of global digital, video, mobile and social media platforms. BBG board members heard from a panel of social media strategists from each of the five BBG networks.

The nine-member BBG, an independent federal agency that includes Secretary of State John Kerry as a board member, directs five major networks: VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Martí and Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

“To grow [BBG’s] social media platform we need to target young, urban future leaders and influencers. We also need to invest more in efforts to ensure internet freedom around the globe,” said BBG Board Chair Jeff Shell.

The BBG’s panel of digital media strategists discussed social media trends, tools and networking plus the need for journalists to become skilled at video, tweeting and blogging. One of BBG CEO John Lansing’s top goals is expansion of the networks’ global social media tools and programming.

Clive Fernandez, director of digital and media strategy for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, observed at the meeting that social media is soon to be the future of the newsroom.

“We are already producing a lot more content for social media. In fact, two out of three pieces of content we produce now bypasses the website and is strictly for social media,” Fernandez said.

VOA Director of Digital Strategy Matthew Baise discussed using analytics as a means to measure audience and impact. “We’ve had pretty good metrics over our websites across all of our news organizations. Now, all of the social platforms are building out their analytic suites. On the editorial side it helps us determine what sort of beats to cover. It helps you decide what doesn’t work. Analytics also can tell you the exact demographics you are hitting with certain pieces of journalism.”

Glenn Kates, managing editor for digital for RFE/RL, said the use of video, especially Facebook Live, is quickly changing how the broadcaster approaches social media.

“What we have found is the best type of content is what can be posted directly to social media so that people see and interact with,” Kates said.

The BBG has said previously the growth of social and digital platforms does not mean the broadcaster is abandoning legacy platforms like radio.

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