Social Media

Newspapers: Go Social or Go Home

Obviously the newspaper industry is struggling. Industry analysts, journalists and online marketers are frantically scrambling to come up with a smart solution to monetize content and compete with quick and agile bloggers. But while the ship is sinking, social media can act as a great short term solution to keep things afloat. While the newspaper industry certainly will need a strategy in order to survive in the long run, Facebook is offering a very viable (and affordable) short term solution to boosting traffic and page views.

Why social? Just because everyone else is doing it?

Well, yes. Sort of. With Facebook’s +500 million users and Twitter’s +145 million users, social media is a platform that offers a massive potential audience. According to a recent Nielson study, nearly 23% of U.S internet users’ time online is spent on social networking. That’s above games, email, watching videos and performing searches. Not only does social media have a huge audience, but it is changing the way that people are finding and consuming news. This is why newspapers should be involved in the most cutting edge and exciting tactics there are to offer. Yet when I search Facebook, it’s very difficult to find more than a handful of newspapers that are doing a decent job.

Facebook in particular can be especially beneficial to newspapers for a few reasons:

  • Traffic: tap into the vast network of users
  • Engagement: get your readers to share and discuss your content
  • Audience Insights: learn who is reading, sharing and engaging with your content
  • SEO: the more content is viewed and shared, the more likely it is to obtain more links
  • Reach a younger audience: according to the Newspaper Association of America and posted by CMRKinteractive on Facebook, the median age of a newspaper subscriber is 51 years old while the median age of a user who likes articles on news sites is 34 years old.

What can newspapers do to increase social media traffic right now?

Research has shown that people who tend to “like” articles have 2.4 times as many Facebook friends than the average Facebook user.

newspapers social 01 Newspapers: Go Social or Go Home

Facilitating the process of sharing content through the use of social plug-ins is a critical step to getting more traffic. But many publishers have not yet realized their full potential. For example, for the “like” plug-in on your home page, using the button with faces has a 2-3x higher CTR than without faces.

newspapers social 02 Newspapers: Go Social or Go Home

Furthermore, it doesn’t always make sense to have the “like” button on all content. For newspapers specifically, it is critical that the feed installed is the “recommendations” plug in as it wouldn’t be appropriate to like an article on Facebook about the most recent airport security threat.

What can newspapers do to engage with their social media audience?

  • Remember that certain types of content does better on social media (breaking news and controversial topics, for example)
  • Create a place for discussion
  • Promote events
  • Customize to boost subscribers or engagement

newspapers social 03 Newspapers: Go Social or Go Home

So while everyone scrambles to save the newspaper, Facebook is a short term solution just waiting for newspapers to take advantage. Get in there and promote content, customize and engage with readers, advertise, whatever, just get started. For more great stats on publishers and Facebook, check out Justin Osofky’s presentation on Scribd.

15f8090e756aeef3fc1fcc20238b436a 64 Newspapers: Go Social or Go Home

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman works for the Jive Software, the pioneer and leading provider of social business solutions. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO and paid search for the B2B sector. Freeman has been responsible for the development and execution of countless search and social marketing campaigns over her years in the search marketing industry.

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12 thoughts on “Newspapers: Go Social or Go Home

  1. I agree, if online newspapers want to be on the forefront of bringing news to the people, they should dump the old adage that people will go to their site. They should bring the news closer to the people. People are in social media sites thus they need to have social media presence.

  2. Note, however, that News Corp. media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, is readying the online branches of his conglomerate of print newspapers to move off of the web and on to an iPad app. Not only will search engines be unable to crawl and index content as they to behind pay walls (such as the subscription wall at the Wall St. Journal), Social media sharing tools will be cut off to prevent leakage of News Corp copywrited materia back on to the web. See the guest blog I wrote for ISMagazine.

  3. Lots of smart online publications already have “like,” “share” and “email” features, but adding similar features to individual comments to the articles would also increase participation. Two reasons for this: 1. sometimes the comments are actually pretty good and people might like to share them or comment on them, 2. it would add an incentive for people to leave comments.

  4. I actually dont purchase newspapers, I just sit in front of a computer and read news in there. That’s why I think newspapers must take in to consideration being online.

  5. Social related media has morphed into a social phenomenon that reaches into most social interactions. Social Websites have evolved into a very powerful interaction of independent websites where people share information and ideas.

  6. Hi.
    Obviously the newspaper industry is struggling. Industry analysts, journalists and online marketers are frantically scrambling to come up with a smart.
    ……….
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