June 6, 2019

Each morning when KUOW social media producer Brie Ripley gets to work, she asks herself the same question: How am I going to bring journalism to social media today? Ripley has been with the station for just a year, but as their second full-time social staffer, she has been able to innovate and grow audiences in the social space. More specifically, Ripley asks how she is going to bring region-specific stories to the accounts, which she says is key in reaching audiences and engaging with them.

Ripley says when she finds a good story for social she thinks about how the story can best be told, sometimes it is a Twitter thread, sometimes it is a Instagram Story or gallery.

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Ripley says people on Instagram love to share how they are feeling, and she has had a lot of success asking her regional audiences about national topics. For example, during the Kavanaugh hearings, Ripley asked her audience to share their thoughts and got more than 60 responses, some of which she collected and shared back on the KUOW Instagram account.

Ripley says they also ask about favorite programs and why Instagram followers love or support KUOW during the stations pledge drive, also collecting responses and sharing back the content.

Ripley thinks it is important to be on Instagram for stations because is so great for storytelling (what we all do!) and because engagement is high. In just a year, she has organically doubled their followers through having a consistent presence on the platform. Ripley says she considers it a huge plus for a trusted news source to show up in a casual platform like Instagram where engagement is high.

Ripley attributes her tremendous growth to a few things any station with a little time and familiarity with Instagram can achieve. She says try to post once a day, if possible; use hashtags (handy tip: think who, what, where, when, why, and tag all of those answers if you can); and experiment — audiences don’t get upset if style changes over time.

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