(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
In our 3rd installment of our Social Media Roundtable (Check out our 1st and 2nd editions) we feature some of South Florida’s finest in Media. The topic of discussion will be how Social Media can be leveraged and maximized within the media industry. Regardless if you are currently working in the industry or aspiring to build your name within the industry, this piece will provide you insight into mastering social media to further your career and sharpen your skills.
South Florida is the perfect setting to discuss these topics. Miami is considered a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, arts and international trade and is experiencing a growth spurt. Areas such as downtown Miami, Miami Beach and Brickell provide an eclectic mix of culture and house a growing population.
The market size of Miami, the focus on arts & entertainment and a forward-thinking community all keep South Florida’s media professionals on their toes. Understanding social media and how to use it to constantly evolve is key to sustained success, not only for each of them personally but also for their brands as whole.
Get to know our panel:
How Important is Social Media in your job? How has the importance of Social Media grown within your industry?
Justin Finch – Social media is not just a part of my job. It’s as much a priority now as getting the story on the air, and my daily coffees.
The importance of social media has become, for us journalists, not just a way to link to our reports, but also a means for us to communicate with news makers, tipsters, and others who are directly impacted by the news of the day.
That also speaks to how much social media has grown. People don’t just want to watch the news, they want to talk about it — with you! So talk back, even when they don’t like what you’re saying.
Social networks are a place for conversation, and conversations evolve. So what gets you Facebook likes and Twitter retweets this month, may net you nothing a month from now. To be effective on social media, you have to surrender to the fact that it’s always changing, so you must too.
Erika Delgado – Social media has become increasingly valuable in the weather world. Before social media, radios were used as a substitute for television during significant weather events and power outages. However, now social media is used as the main source for updates during significant events. Television stations are now really pushing the use of social media in all weather segments and also encouraging TV Meteorologists to communicate our forecasts via social media.
Anthony DiMoro – Being an internet-based brand, Social Media is critical to our growth. I would venture to say that without social media, particularly Twitter, Sports Rants would not have the audience it has today. But it’s two-pronged. Having a social media profile, posting and engagement are all factors that are uniquely separated.
Building an audience that is in tune with the topics of discussion you post is as important as having a social media profile. Having a large percentage of my social media followers primarily interested in sports gives my content a platform to be visible on. It allows direct interaction with readers and starts a trend of social engagement that will keep me interesting to those who follow my profile.
Social Media has provided people such as myself, with no traditional degree in my respective field, opportunities to gain credibility that can open doors for my career. In the past those doors may not have been available to me, that credibility may not have been obtainable and the opportunities may not have existed.
Social Media allows me to leverage my brand, my work and the work of Sports Rants contributors in a way that was not available 10 years ago.
Jim Rodriguez – Coming from English speaking media to now working in Spanish language television. I’ve seen the use and importance of Social media grown 100-fold. Everything from making sure our talents have their twitter handles on the on-screen graphics to calls to action, (pictures via instagram, polls on facebook, homemade videos and interviews through skype) it has became an essential element in our shows.
With the value of Social Media growing every year, How do you think this will impact your job and your industry in the future?
Erika Delgado – Social media has truly taken over the communication industry. It started with MySpace but Facebook and Twitter are what really have pushed social media over the edge. It’s value to relaying weather information to viewers has grown tremendously in the past year and will only continue to do so.
I wouldn’t be surprised to begin to see a slow decline in television viewership in the future as the number of social media users increase. As internet and social media continue to grow, it could potentially spell trouble for television stations in the future.
Jim Rodriguez – As with many current and future consumers, social media is vital to letting them know what we are doing. On the radio side: “who is on with us right now?.. tune in”. On the television side: it’s sharing interview snippets or teases to get people to watch our online content or to tune into the show.
As well as creating discussions, debates that will continue to keep interest in the show, topics, interviews and discussions even after we are done for the night.
Justin Finch – Because social media is so instant and so visceral, I think it’s will force a lot of the journalistic purists to loosen up a bit.
Social media users today have only seconds to absorb with what we spend a solid work day to broadcast. Now, we have to figure how to effectively drill down a day’s work into a 140 characters or just a picture? It won’t be a slam dunk every day, but it’s making us to think smarter about how we can make our reports more captivating and relevant.
Anthony DiMoro – Sports Rants is a social media platform, so I believe social media will forever be embedded in the brand’s DNA. The great thing about being a brand built in the spirit of social media is many of the advancements that social media will achieve in the future will be rather seamless for us to adapt to.
From an individual perspective, I believe we are seeing more media personalities evolve the way they interacting on platforms like Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Through the years we have seen people make some really bad mistakes when posting or interacting with people on social media. Now i think there is a clearer understanding of possible “fallouts” or repercussions for making certain errors. It seems as though these incidents are naturally creating an outline of how not to conduct yourself, which is a good thing.
For those aspiring for a career in media, What are some tips you can give them about building their name/brand using Social Media?
What are some pitfalls or detractors to avoid?
Jim Rodriguez – Be patient. Honestly, a post may not get much attention. Stay the course. Clearly the big pitfall is that you are the brand. The material you post, re-tweet, etc represents you. I am not saying one would be wild or conservative, just know that once it is out there, it is out there, even if you delete a tweet.
Justin Finch – As for advice to personal branding, I’d say you have to realize you will never be finished finding your voice and where you fit in this industry.
It’s just a fact. The good thing is that social media can help you with the fine tuning.
With so many people out there plotting a career just like yours, and many more with years under their belts, the thought alone of making your mark is overwhelming.
So, that makes it all the more important to figure out the nuts and bolts that make you “you,” and boil down what you uniquely bring to the table in your chosen career. Brace yourself, that could take a lifetime all by itself.
Once you figure it out, there’s still more work ahead. You’ll need to constantly polish those skills until the day you die, or retire.
Erika Delgado – Social media is a way to communicate your ideas, thoughts, opinions, information to a greater amount of people. However, it can also have its pitfalls if not used correctly or if used in a negative manner. Just as everything else on the internet, once it is posted or published, it remains there forever.
For those aspiring for a career in Media, the most important thing to remember is that your past always comes back to haunt you. Employers are now using social media as a source of reference or background information about that person before they offer a position. Where I am not against using social media for personal reasons, I truly feel one should censor what they write when communicating ideas that could be controversial, or even straight up unprofessional. That goes for posting photos as well.
Definitely take full advantage of social media, know your boundaries and also keep in mind that a potential employer is always reading your posts. One thing to always remember as well – viewers look up to you as role models. One wrong tweet or post will be enough to lose that viewer.
As much as traditional Media has embraced and utilized Social Media, what are some areas you feel it can be improved upon?
Anthony DiMoro – Becoming less robotic. Some brands rely on auto-posts far too much, or completely. Understanding your audience and what attracts people to your content is key. It’s all about presentation. Posting a headline and a link may get you some clicks, but demonstrating personality & a human element can grow those clicks over time.
Erika Delgado – Continued interaction between Media and the viewers is so important. I think pushing out as much information possible via social media, including video of news stories and weather segments, is important and can always be improved on. Television is up against the internet. Instead of being on opposite teams, why not embrace the idea and work together with social media? Including twitter handles during teases of a newscast is a great way to start.
Jim Rodriguez – Improvements? I’d say continue to be accurate, smart and bold.. that will continue to make a social media person earn the “chops” necessary to be even more credible and a worthy read, view.
Justin Finch – If you ask me, traditional media needs to embrace the “social” component in social media ASAP.
We have to reach people as people. The users on these networks just have their eyes and their devices, and they can choose to look at whatever they want, whenever they want.
That’s a huge challenge, but it also is an invitation for us to engage these users as conscious and curious human beings, and not a captive audience that’s stuck with us and our content.
We’ll also have to be more willing to be flexible. We’ve all seen certain social networks die, and on others we’re seeing the writing on the wall. To stay ahead, we’re going to have to follow these users as they adapt to the next new social network, and sometimes, we’ll have to lead them.
I mean, nobody said this social media thing was going to be easy.
The South Florida market is truly unique, from a media standpoint what do you think makes South Florida unique?
Jim Rodriguez – Having moved out here myself a couple of years ago… what makes this place unique is how easy one can navigate in one language and just as easy move on to another. Being bilingual its fantastic. More of a world to embrace, absorb and share.
Justin Finch – South Florida is a unique media market for more reasons than I could ever list; but, one that jumps out right away is that there are no rules on so many different levels.
For us on the television news side, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to get their news on Spanish-language television, then switch over to an English-language station for the weather, and go back and forth all hour.
And in the field, it’s no big deal to find yourself in a situation where people who don’t speak English or Spanish.
As the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, a second home to snowbirds in the Northeast and Canada, and a vacation destination for the world, there are countless components to melting pot we’ve set on simmer here in South Florida. And when you’ve got that many differences brewing all one pot, it rewires your brain to think globally, teaches your ears to listen extra carefully, and trains your eyes to see and understand not everything or everyone are what they appear.
The surprises and stories here are endless.
Erika Delgado – I think South Florida is unique for more than one reason. South Florida’s climate is a very inviting one all year long. Because of this, activities are rarely canceled or are too hot or too cold to participate in. Surrounded by water on all three sides also provides a very refreshing feel to the area. South Florida, specifically Miami, is also known for being a trendy, party-like city.
Naturally, newscasts in South Florida portray that trendy fashion setting anchors, and with gorgeous weather all year long, it’s no wonder many travel across the country to spend vacations in South Florida.
Anthony DiMoro – I have only been in South Florida since August 2013, but I already can see vast differences between South Florida and Albany, New York.
Miami is more vibrant, a bigger market, larger population and a lot more energy. You can almost feel a different type of energy here.
Albany is far different. A much smaller market, limited events, long winters, it all impacts lifestyle. While the area is beautiful and rich in history, it is a different world in New York than it is here in South Florida.
Stay tuned for another Social Media Roundtable, be sure to connect with our panelists via Social Media.