WTVT, the Fox O&O in Tampa, Fla., leads in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.
WTVT has more than 14.5 million actions on social, 35.6% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 13), with more than 41 million social actions.
WTVT led on Facebook with over 14.4 million actions, and led on Instagram with more than 90,000 actions.
In addition, WTVT led on actions per post with more than 2,000 despite having the least content of the top 8 media outlets in the market.
The Tampa Bay Times, a daily newspaper owned by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, led on Twitter with almost 115,000 actions.
John Hoffman, WTVT’s news director, says the key to his station’s success on Facebook is that it is selective as to what it posts, partly in response to changes Facebook made in its algorithms.
“We stay away from gimmicks and tricks and really focus on good content. Some of our competitors post every three to five minutes or whatever. We wait and post just a couple a day that we know are important and we don’t overwhelm people with postings.”
Hoffman says when it comes to breaking news, the station’s success on Facebook is about being first.
“But more importantly, to be accurate, because once you establish that you are among the first and always correct, people will come back to you and know to turn to you for the big stories.”
Hoffman says the station focuses mainly on local news on Facebook, “the most recent case that exploded on our Facebook comment detector was a terrible car accident in Tampa. It involved two young people racing and then a young mom and daughter that were killed.”
Another successful topic for WTVT’s Facebook page is the natural beauty of the Tampa area where the station features pictures under the umbrella, Why We Live Here.
Facebook Live from the scene of breaking news is another staple of WTVT’s Facebook success.
“When there is real content to be had and to be done live via a stream on Facebook, we do that quite a bit,” says Hoffman.
“The crew will know that the minute they get there they are going to have to stream it live.”
Weather is another strong draw for engagement for WTVT, especially when it comes to its chief meteorologist.
“Paul Dellegatto is a social media superstar. He was just ranked one of the top on-airs in the country when it comes to Facebook. He would get on there and answer questions, talk to people and it was very effective. He would have tens of thousands of people tuned in.”
Overall, Hoffman thinks Facebook has made the station “more real.”
“It’s made us very much more connected. It’s made us more accountable. Questions from the audience will be asked and we will answer those questions and as a news person that may not be a question you immediately thought of, but your audience is asking it and it allows you right then and there to find the information and post it in the comments.”