(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Expert discusses how social media can boost audience engagement and create better returns for organisations.A live Facebook page real-time tweets and a post-event survey are critical to gauge audience interaction and response to any online event according to Rodney Gibbs chief innovation officer for The Texas Tribune who was addressing a workshop titled Innovation Potentials In Social Media' at the Dubai Press Club on Wednesday August 27 2014.
'Livestream is the norm today. It creates a big impact available for demand' he said adding that one of the main focus areas should be on using social media to promote events.
He suggested that there should be an effective teaser to draw interest from the audience.
'A live Facebook post must be present and Twitter should be more aggressive in bringing real-time updates. Do live tweets all the time. If possible have the event on livestream as it is the norm today. It creates a big impact available for demand. It's a challenge for us going forward' he advised.He also stressed upon the importance of audience participation which can be enhanced using appropriate hashtags for effective engagement. Sending direct messages also helps a lot to communicate with people. More importantly there should also be dedicated persons monitoring these platforms.According to him conducting a survey after each event was critical to gauge audience interest. 'Gather the participants' email and ask them: 'Did you like the event Did you hate it What can we do to make it work better''It is also important to summarise the event by posting videos and 'storyfying' it with all sorts of digital media available a collection of tweets videos and Instagram posts all in one package.'Furthermore pay attention to logistics and how you'll make things simple and elegant' he added.
br/>In reply to a query on tools best suited for social media he said SocialBro and Hootsuite were highly effective in targeting audiences.
He also mentioned IFTTT which is a service that enables users to connect different web applications like Facebook Twitter Foursquare etc through simple statements known as 'recipes'. This makes way for easier consumption of content from a variety of sources.
Giving a short background of The Texas Tribune (www.texastribune.org) as being a strictly-online non-partisan organisation providing data journalism he said the portal is home for free online content providing news items weekly videos photography and interactive digital content. The organisation is also known for coming up with events which are free for the public like campaigns and panel discussions which are livestreamed for better audience reach.Rodney also presented Tribtalk which encourages a more dynamic and responsible form of audience interaction. 'This is our way of generating opposing view points.'
A unique feature for Tribtalk is the respect button which signifies that a reader simply gives respect to a particular story whereas in Facebook you have the 'Like' option. Tribtalk also highlights the participation of authors in the forum discussions which has become an effective option in keeping readers behaved.To end the discussion Rodney was asked how he sees the future of social media in terms of its credibility in providing news and information.
'Take every tweet seriously to ensure credibility. It remains a challenge for a journalist how to balance the source may it be from hard news or those being generated by social media.'
'With the norm today of journalists having personal accounts on social media it pays the way for having a much deeper impact for each story they carry' he concluded.