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Major Newspaper Places Priority on Social/Digital Strategy by Using Niche Platform

Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, is one of the most respected newspapers around, and a few years ago they made a bold move – to change their name, change their website and step up their social media strategy. They made the decision to stand out. With their new goals, they sought out the help of SocialNewsDesk to put all of the publication’s contributors on one page when it comes to social media strategy. Tampabay.com touches more than 2 million users a month and that’s an audience they plan to continue growing. In house, they have dozens of different writers contributing to their social posts on Facebook and Twitter. The difficulty, for them and many newsrooms, was managing the message and the messengers on social media.

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Getting on the Same Page

The Tampa Bay Times has the monumental task of updating 35 various Facebook and Twitter accounts daily. They have 40 people doing it as a team. Managing all of that becomes much easier through the SocialNewsDesk platform, says TBT Digital Audience Specialist, Amber McDonald: “Social News Desk has proved to be an important asset for delivering the Tampa Bay Times’ news and information to social media audiences. The dashboard and scheduling tools have allowed us to streamline our efforts for consistent and organized social media management.” From one screen, each user can manage as many Facebook pages and Twitter accounts as they need to while setting up lists and searches for social listening. The team uses the SND “Frequency Manager” to set goals for how often posts should be made and track the goals as a team. A key feature that TampaBay.com has taken advantage of inside SocialNewsDesk, is the ability to schedule posts on both Facebook and Twitter at key times on the social media platforms. It’s been great for covering weekends and early morning hours when newsroom staff tends to be scarce. TampaBay’s social media content has also become more consistent thanks to best practice reminders inside the SocialNewsDesk dashboard which encourage users to remember links and pictures which drive more traffic to the website. The newspaper posts through SND more than 2,000 times a month.

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Security & Liability

The Tampa Bay Times is a substantial target for digital deviants. As with any major media outlet, they have concerns about hacking, password theft and security. To solve that challenge, TBT turned to SocialNewsDesk to create a more secure strategy for user management and access controls. Rather than sharing passwords and expanding the list of local admins, TBT gives each person on staff an individual Username and Password to SocialNewsDesk. This allows the Tampa Bay Times to keep its secure information secure and keep track of who is doing what on social media.

Contests & Campaigns

The Tampa Bay Times depends on SocialNewsDesk’s robust applications to host contests on social media. “The contest and application tools have been great for building and engaging with our audience via social platforms, which helps us to connect with our digital readers in new ways,” says McDonald. Using SND, Tampa Bay Times is able to put together clever campaigns that integrate their advertisers. It’s been a consistent way to help build audience for TBT and its advertisers.


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