The Kansas City Star

Kansas City, Missouri

Size of Facebook audience: 130,070 followers as of November 13, 2016

Strategies tested (See all): 

  1. Deploy Your Fans: Invite your users to help you inform the world.
  2. Engage Authentically: Invite and value interaction.
  3. Engage Authentically: Host meaningful conversation.

Project lead: Maria Torres has been the digital/social media editor at the Star for a little under a year, and she was responsible for her newsroom’s involvement in the project. She works on the Star’s website, social media and app, and she takes the lead on audience growth and engagement strategies. She also assists with video and audio production. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hear from Torres about her newsroom’s goals:

The Deploy Your Fans strategy proved pretty successful for the Star in some cases, but overall it seemed the host meaningful conversation strategy earned the most engagement and the highest quality comments. The host meaningful conversation and deploy your fans strategies were usually effective way for the Star to invite their users to participate in the stories it posts on Facebook. Torres said these strategies didn’t require a lot of extra time or planning to implement, and she could incorporate them easily with stories that were already scheduled to be published that day.

The Star took a unique approach to the Deploy Your Fans strategy with this post asking users to share new information about Alzheimer’s, and made Gene Wilder’s obituary more engaging with the host meaningful conversation strategy. The host meaningful conversation strategy also came in handy when the Star wanted to try out Facebook Live chats with their reporters, and when they wanted to try to source an investigative story by inviting their Facebook users to share their experiences.

In hindsight, Torres said she wishes the Star had been more involved in the comments on posts after initiating a conversation as a part of one of the strategies they were testing.

Since she was only a couple months into her job at the Star when the project began, Torres said it was helpful to have these strategies as guidelines for taking an audience-focused approach to Facebook. Her main goal during this project was develop a consistent mindset when crafting social posts that would help her involve the Star’s audience in their coverage as much as possible. Torres said that after going through the project, she had a better idea of how to expand the Star’s social media presence to include more than just pushing links.

“Oftentimes our Facebook posts would just be a regurgitation of what’s in the story,” Torres said. “And at times I think that’s fine, I think that’s totally acceptable. But there are stories where you want to give readers a different take, or give people a new opportunity to engage with us.”