If you haven’t looked at the Facebook + Journalists Page, I strongly suggest you do. It has data-supported best practices for journalists to use, which include driving traffic to your student media outlet’s Facebook Page. Note: There’s a difference between a Profile and a Page. A profile is for an individual’s personal connections. A Page is a public presence but can be for an individual or an organization/company (or a product).
Step 1: Set up a Page for your news website.
Step 2: Read on Facebook + Journalists about the best practices. Click HERE and then along the left rail under “Best Practices” to find the tips. Learn to promote the stories and to increase reader engagement.
Alternately, the new Subscribe feature allows an individual to control his or her Profile’s updates and who sees them. This offers a lot of the features of a Page for individuals without having to get a bunch of Page “likes” when you already have many friends. So, individual journalists might use Subscribe now, but I still think a Page for a news organization is the best option.
Step 3: Once you have reviewed the best practices, put them into action. Set a goal of doing one of them per week. Be deliberate about it. If you want to see how the timing of a post affects traffic, post at various times and track the engagement. If you want to test how well images play a role, try various posts with and without images.
(By the way, the Facebook + Journalists Page has a lot of great information for gathering news information and sources, too. There’s also a syllabus for educators that includes much of the same data and best practices, but the assignments might make great classroom projects.)
Analytics are also important to pay attention too. From your website, you can see how readers found your page: search, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You might consider a bit of advertising, too. Buying Facebook ads might yield more “Likes,” which can build your audience. You can set the ad to target a specific audience and only pay when a user clicks through (and stop when your budget has been reached).
Finally, remember that the fastest-growing segment on Facebook is women about age 50 and up. Your website’s audience is not just the students of your school but also their parents, families and community members. Build your audience with those users, too.