Snapchat and Instagram: Social Media Skills Needed to Build a Brand

By: Breana Albizu

With the shift from a traditional industry brought through industrialization to an economy based on computerization (also known as the Digital Age), journalists are constantly looking to perfect their skills and expand their brand. The importance of social media has paved the way for journalists to give people voices and share their stories. But first, they need to know how to use it correctly.

Marcia Allert (Director of Photography) and Sarah Blaskovich (Writer/Editor) both work for The Dallas Morning News. Tiney Ricciardi works as a writer/editor for Guide Live, the entertainment arm of The Dallas Morning News. Each of these ladies emphasized the notion that social media, in particular Snapchat and Instagram, can connect your personal voice with your professional persona. You're striving to be a journalist, but at the end of the day, you're also human.

With the option to post a variety of photos, Instagram should be considered the scrapbook of your life. An easy trick Ricciardi informed us when asked how to increase your following and expand your exposure was to follow and tag accounts that are known to repost your account. Many of these accounts should inspire journalists, such as finding a theme for your brand (ex. the style of photos, the one filter to use). A great example of a theme was National Geographic. Their Instagram account not only featured high-quality, colorful photos, but their videos showcased incredible video editing qualities. 

The introduction of Instagram stories has been a great tool for journalists to show the advantages they have when working behind the scenes. Just as Meredith Land does from NBC 5 in Dallas, journalists are encouraged to invite people into their exclusive world.

Snapchat is deemed a fleeting slice of your life. Similar to Facebook Live, this mobile application is a great way to practice and improve one's broadcasting skills, even if you're a newspaper editor. For examples on how to format your Snapchat, the discover feature presents cool story ideas on topics that big media industries cover.

To conclude, there are three questions that you need to ask yourself as a journalist with several social media accounts:

1. Who's your audience? (And who do you want them to be?)

This will vary based on the different social media networking websites.

2. What's appropriate?

Figure out what you can share. As journalists, it should be encouraged to share things that make you human. For example, if you are a sportcaster, you can't post about who your favorite sports team is, but you can post about your love for Stranger Things.

3. How do you present your brand as a trusted source?

As they emphasized in Question #2, humanize yourself. Revealing your passions, likes, and even dislikes will allow you to further connect with your online audience. When you constantly refer to a certain list of trustworthy sources, you have to be the right kind of journalist at all times. This will allow you to gain their trust. Overall, credibility is key.