Interacting With The Media On Social Media
This training reviews how to connect with reporters and media outlets, and pitch them your stories on social platforms.
Why interact with the media on social?
Interacting with media outlets and individual journalists on social media is valuable for a couple of reasons. First, you may be able to influence the media outlets and journalists themselves to cover climate solutions more. Second, your interactions could help sway their social media followers and your own, who will see an uptick in conversation about climate change as they scroll through their feeds.
All of that builds more political will for climate solutions, which elected representatives in Congress will ultimately have to respond to.
Identify local outlets and journalists
Start out by identifying the primary media in your area. Consider everything: major newspapers, TV, and radio stations. Also think about individual reporters or journalists who you know from these outlets. Who reports on energy and environment issues? How about politics and government? Who on your nightly news does human interest stories about people in the community? Who’s your meteorologist? If you don’t know these people off the top of your head, look them up.
Follow their accounts
Once you’ve identified the outlets and journalists you want to focus on, you can get on your preferred social media platform and follow any accounts they have. You’re most likely going to have the best luck finding them on the three main social platforms: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Once you’re following them, you’ll see their posts and can start interacting.
No matter which platform you’re using, the main ways to interact with posts from members of the media are to:
- Like or love their posts
- Share their posts
- Reply to or comment on their posts
Like their posts
The simplest way you can interact with the media is to like or love their posts about climate change, local climate impacts, or other environmental stories. This is a super easy, one-second action you can take to show that you appreciate them giving attention to that issue. It shows them that it’s valuable and popular with their readers and viewers to talk about climate.
Share their posts
The next thing you could do is to share their posts, particularly ones about news stories that accurately and responsibly discuss climate change and climate solutions. Sharing posts is easiest on Twitter and Facebook, and a little harder, but still possible, on Instagram. Sharing local news stories that mention climate change will expose your own followers to that information. It will also reinforce to your local media outlets and journalists that it’s valuable to address these issues, and their audience is interested in that. That will hopefully encourage them to cover climate even more.
Comment and engage them in conversation
The next way you can interact, and what you’ll probably do the most, is by commenting on an outlet or a reporter’s social media post. This is when you can try to engage them in conversation and introduce the idea of CCL.
For example, if they’ve posted something about flooding in your city, you could comment something like “Thanks for covering this! It’s been really concerning to see the changes in our precipitation patterns over the last few years. I’ll share this with my local chapter of @citizensclimate, and we’ll use this information the next time we meet with Rep. Smith about climate change.”
There, you’ve demonstrated appreciation, reinforced to the journalist and others seeing the post that your area is experiencing climate impacts, and gently introduced the information that CCL is active in the area and lobbying Congress on these issues.
You can also leave comments on social media that are just short and sweet, like saying, “Thanks for covering climate change!” or “Yes, this issue is so important,” or “What a great story! How did you decide to cover this?” Ultimately, all of this will add to the journalist’s or the media outlet’s awareness that climate change is important to their audience.
Occasionally use social media to “pitch”
Very occasionally, you might be able to use social media to “pitch” your local media. Usually you’ll want to send true pitches via email with more information included, such as a press release, which you can learn more about in our “Generating Media Coverage” training. Your media manager is likely doing this already. But if they’re having trouble breaking through that way, you could help them out by using social media as another way to connect.
You could comment something like, “Thanks for covering this! My local @citizensclimate chapter is trying to get Rep. Smith to support a legislative solution to this exact problem. Would you be interested in doing a story about our efforts?”
If you get an interested reply, then you can move to direct messages or email to provide more information and work out details about interviews. But if not, no worries. The media manager in your chapter can continue to pitch through more traditional channels.
And again, obvious pitches like that should be few and far between on social media—if you pitch hard all the time, the journalist or the media outlet will start to tune you out.
And remember to always be respectful when you’re engaging with anyone on social media. CCL always makes it a point to show respect to members of Congress, and we want to extend that respect to others as well.
Use this to stay informed
If your local media outlets or local reporters are not posting much about climate or environmental issues, and you’re not seeing any organic opportunities to interact with them in a CCL way about CCL topics, that’s okay! No need to force it.
You can simply keep an eye on their posts to understand what topics they are focused on, which can inform your real-life outreach to them.
Interact with CCL, too
While you’re thinking about interacting with media on social platforms, remember that you can also interact with CCL on those platforms as well. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thanks in advance for liking, sharing, and commenting on our posts regularly, too!
- Steve Valk