Social media can be tricky to navigate.  At minimum, there’s Twitter, Facebook and blog posts to stay on top of, and while continually seeking new ways to help gain, engage and retain followers.  To find out how some key news stations are using social media, we followed their tweets and Facebook postings and drew inferences about what is working for them.  After tracking WSB in Atlanta, WBZ in Boston and WTOP in Washington,DC on Twitter and Facebook, a few patterns emerged and we thought we’d share insights that might help you better serve your social media audience.

Most importantly is knowing which outlet is best for your message.  If you’re posting a news story or linking to a press release, Twitter will probably be your best bet.  Twitter is more effective at simply getting news oriented information out there, reporting what’s happening now.  Followers can simply read and retweet, if they find our story interesting.  However, if you’re taking a poll, asking for opinions or posing another type of question, Facebook is probably a better option, because the comments section is dialogue friendly and promotes a conversation.

For example, WTOP, a news radio station in Washington, DC, tweeted the question, “Now that the real #NFL #refs are back, how long do you think their warm welcome will last?” and received a mere two replies.  WTOP then posted the same question on Facebook, and received 18 likes and 12 comments.  From this example, you can see the difference in response for the same question.

The ask-a-question-to-engage approach was demonstrated well at WSB.  Atlanta’s news station, posted this question to their Facebook, “Here’s the new lineup for WSB beginning Monday. Your thoughts?” The post generated a strong 24 likes and 53 comments, with followers posting their opinions about the new line-up.  In short, questions invite opinion and work well on this social platform.

WBZ, primarily used their Twitter feed to push news information out and track breaking stories.  There seemed to have varying levels of success.  However, with this strategy, followers can easily skim the headlines to get up to the minute information on locally relevant stories and see if there’s anything they want to retweet.

It’s clear that when it comes to questions, Facebook encourages followers to share, while Twitter encourages followers to spread the word.  Test it out for yourself and see what gets your audience buzzing.


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