Each day I try to find social aspects of our stories.  The easiest thing to do is just post a question or comment about a story on Facebook and/or Twitter and let conversation ensue.  When I can or have the opportunity I’ll jump into the conversation and add responses either as myself or commenting as the station.

Those conversations are necessary to create relationships with people who will turn us on, click on our links and share news tips.  The conversations aren’t necessarily for incorporation into a news story.  When the comments add value to the story they can be used.  When you answer a question asked through Twitter or Facebook you tell the viewers from where the question came.

Easy isn't always the right tactic; we have to go beyond just these conversations.  If at all possible use the Facebook Social Plugins or widgets, like the Twitter widgets, on a web page to encourage use of your website.  When you do this you give people more of a reason to go to your website than just, “go to 9news.com for more information.”

For example, I made this Colorado Earthquake page last week.  It has a time line widget where I posted some of Colorado’s notable quakes over the years.  I added the Facebook comment widget to encourage conversation on the page.

During the newscast the anchors told viewers of this page and gave them a reason to choose our website for an interactive way to look at the earthquake history instead of the normal go to “X” story for more.  This also created an opportunity for the social aspect of news to be brought into the story without sharing comments from Facebook that viewers may or may not care to hear.