Around April, Megan Hess, Bloomberg's mobile and emerging platforms editor, was thinking about the right opportunity to start a Facebook group, which the organisation hadn't tried before.
She knew Bloomberg readers were interested in personal finance content and reporters produced plenty of material about this topic for the website, but it wasn't always easy to find or aimed at people who weren't already heavily committed to their saving plan or pension, for example.
So she came up with the idea of creating Money Talks, a Facebook community she now oversees. Since April, it has grown organically to 1,859 members (at the time of writing), from people who work in finance to students and young professionals all around the world.
"We also put call outs about the group at the bottom of our stories, telling people that they can join the community to discuss more about personal finance issues," Hess told Journalism.co.uk.
The group is described as a place to "openly discuss everything involving your money", including tips on investing, avoiding debt, or when to save and splurge, through Q&As and posts from Bloomberg News reporters and industry experts.
Its description includes a disclaimer that the group is not "providing any individual investment advice in connection with this community, nor are we endorsing any particular strategy, fund or adviser".
On 27 July, Bloomberg conducted its first Facebook Live through Money Talks, where two of the organisation's personal finance reporters addressed some of the issues people had been discussing in the group.
The stream had 33,000 views, 67 shares and 68 comments, and also led to a bump in members in the Money Talks group, said Meena Thiruvengadam, global head of audience engagement and social media strategy at Bloomberg.
When a prospective member requests to join the group, they are asked to answer a few questions before they are approved, such as which area of personal finance they are most interested in, for example saving, and what sources they use for financial news.
"We started the group to better serve people with personal finance stories, and it's a two-way street, we can also use [the community] for story ideas, which is why we want to know what people are wondering about in their every day lives regarding their money," Hess added.
On 19 July, a post by Hess in which she asked members to share their number one tip for saving money attracted some 32 comments and people quickly jumped in to contribute and give feedback on other people's tips. Posts made by Hess's or Thiruvengadam's own accounts get more engagement than those made with the Bloomberg Facebook page, Hess pointed out.
To build engagement when the group had just launched, the team created the 30-day Money Challenge, where every day for a month they shared one actionable money-related tip, accompanied by a visual with a text overlay.
"We posted one actionable tip for 30 days to help members spring clean their finances. Some tips were from existing Bloomberg articles, some from our personal experience and we had people responding along the way with their progress," explained Hess.
"One member posted during the challenge to ask about credit assessment and one of our reporters had just interviewed a credit expert so she was able to reply directly to that person in an informed way."
Facebook groups are being used by other news organisations, either by titles with paywalls to build closer relationships with their subscribers, or by newsrooms who want to source stories from readers, unite them around a cause or topic, promote an upcoming editorial project, or increase trust by bringing them deeper into the reporting process.
The 30-day challenge worked well for the team, who is trying out learnings from it on other platforms, such as LinkedIn.
"We were automated on LinkedIn for a while," Thiruvengadam said, "but we want to develop our voice there and put a face to that voice, so a lot of the tips from the challenge on Facebook we took to LinkedIn as well.
"We try to be a bit more human about our social strategy."
Free daily newsletter
- From podcasts to chat bots: Engagement experiments at Harvard Business Review
- Tip: Filming on a smartphone? Here's some key advice from the BBC
- 10 tips for setting up your LinkedIn profile
- The changing relationship between news organisations and their audiences
- 'Look for the sweet spot between news and context' – How to make your live streams more engaging