A study by social media strategist Ryan Northover has revealed the renowned social media elements of the NT News has the most engaged audience, with 25% of its Facebook ‘fans’ commenting and liking its links.
The News Limited published, Darwin-based daily newspaper was considerably ahead of media competitors, with ABC News in second place with a 15.5% engagement rating.
“While traditional markers brag about Facebook likes as a measure of Facebook success, the real story lies in how many of the potential Facebook page fans are actually liking, commenting, sharing and clicking links on branded content throughout Facebook,” says Northover in the original post on his blog.
“As traditional media outlets, especially the print media, falls in audience share, social media provides a unique opportunity for established brands to engage with a new, younger audience as media companies move to an all digital consumption future,” he adds.
Northover looked at 30 of the top online and TV news brands in Australia, and was compiled by working out the percentage of total fans (likes) engaging with Facebook fan page content over a week in June 2012.
“A smart Facebook strategy will allow news brands to increase application or website content subscribers, work with advertisers to cross-promote products and events, undertake free market research, conduct vital conversations between the news brand and consumers and provide a platform for journalists to chase news leads,” Northover states.
“ A social media strategy to engage and expand your social media audience will be vital to the success or failure of news brands in the next few years.”
The result comes two weeks after Influencing talked to the NT News digital editor James Dunlevie about the title’s unique social media approach.
The success of NT News
Northover told Influencing that the key success of the NT News engagement lies with the irreverent style of its news, and the team taking the reverence to "the next level” on social media.
“The NT News is doing a great job of updating their fans with a mix of hard breaking news and links to the most interesting stories on the website, however this is only part of a successful strategy on social media for news brands,” he explains.
“The NT News team realise they also need to update their fans with topical buzz, humorous updates related to current events and content rich media (such as images and video). Users also need to be encouraged to have their say, and the NT News will often ask prompting questions to stir discussion and debate.”
He adds that the engagement strategy of the NT News takes advantage of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which determines what content fans see in their news feed and for how long.
“Engaging pages are more likely to be exposed to a wider audience many times larger than the likes a page might have,” he says. “The NT News team are hitting a sweet spot of informing and entertaining their audience, in a way that is highly engaging and most importantly for social media, fun.”
It’s a list dominated by News Limited tabloids, which Northover says is proof that the media firm “is probably the most social media savvy in the country”.
“To see News Limited brands with pretty high engagement was no surprise,” he states “I was, however, interested to see high engagement on the Brisbane Times Facebook page, only because other Fairfax Media brands, such as The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, are doing a less than impressive job on social media.”
The Facebook opportunity
News outlets must remember the potential of Facebook, and social media generally, as it battles for a wider audience, Northover explains.
“A Facebook page could have a million fans, but only a few thousand people engaging if the content is not compelling,” he says. “News brands must find compelling ways to rise above the competing voices and provide users a daily diet of engaging content is crucial.”
“There is a huge opportunity for news brands to capture audience attention and bring users back to their mainstream media publications and broadcasts. News professionals should consider not just why users are on Facebook, but what kind of content Australian Facebook users are most interested in.”
The main opportunities for journalists is to find news leads, he adds, and for news directors it is a chance to learn in real-time what users are interested in.
PR professionals can use title’s social media pages to better understand a brand and it’s a chance to understand what kind of messages and content works and what doesn’t.
A full list of the results:
‘Talking About This’ (%)
Find out more about Ryan Northover at his blog.
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