What are some interesting use cases of social media by top publishers in the U.S? For example, we found that Buzzfeed uses Instagram to generate engagement and that Huffingtonpost creates a Twitter page per vertical. We would like to know more interesting, strategic social media use by top publishers.
Some of the interesting social media strategies employed by top U.S. publishers include promoting their content in the messenger apps, using underutilized platforms like Reddit, revamping and reposting underperforming content, and publishing silent videos. Additionally, NowThis has different subteams for different platforms and verticals, which allows them to produce unique video content for each of them. ABC News also experiments with video, using GIFs, text overlays, and 360° video to increase following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Moreover, Huffington Post creates Facebook-only communities for introverts, Muslim millennials, and other groups. When the following grows on dedicated pages, they start to introduce their own content.
To identify top publishers, I analyzed various overview articles by NewsWhip, a company that analyzes how people engage with stories on social media. Most of them have a section dedicated to top news publishers. I supplemented my findings with other overview articles that mention top publishers. I determined that the strategies are interesting with articles in the industry media and by digital marketing companies. Wherever possible, I also provided metrics related to the success of the strategy.
CNN — DARK SOCIAL AND MESSENGER APPS
According to CNN's head of social media, Samantha Barry, people are sharing an increasing amount of content through messenger apps. They want to capitalize on that by using them as a marketing channel. To date, their most interesting experiment is using Kik, a social app for teens, to reach the youngest audiences and offer them conversational news with the use of a chatbot.
THE WASHINGTON POST — USING REDDIT TO EXPAND REACH
Reddit is the fifth most-visited site in the U.S. However, most brands haven't had much success using it for promotional purposes. The Washington Post took an innovative approach to this social platform, offering users "Ask Me Anything" sessions with top journalists and engaging in most heated conversation. As a result, The Post has become one of the most shared news sites on Reddit.
FOX NEWS — Reusing underperforming CONTENT
According to NewsWhip, Fox News has one of the most engaged Instagram audiences. One of their tricks is a creative use of content which underperformed on their website. For example, an article that initially didn't drive engagement on the website and social was condensed and turned into a video, which drove additional 100k engagements.
NOWTHIS — DIFFERENT TEAMS FOR DIFFERENT PLATFORMS
NowThis is a unique example, as it focuses solely on distributing news through social media, having shut down its website in 2015. Each member of their five editorial teams is also a video producer. While most companies have one social media team, their five teams are further broken by platform and vertical. For example, their Facebook videos and videos for emerging platforms are produced by different people who have different strengths and focus. This allows them to produce unique content for each audience. Their strategy allowed them to reach one billion video views a month.
THE NEW YORKER — INNOVATIVE SNAPCHAT STRATEGY
According to Mashable, The New Yorker has found a golden Snapchat formula, which allowed them to reach new audiences while staying true to their legacy. They came up with a number of recurring features, like the popular cartoon contest, weekly cover reveal, and exclusive interviews. While there are no metrics available for Snapchat alone, after revamping their digital strategy, The New Yorker increased its social following by 50%.
BUZZFEED — SILENT VIDEOS
While experts from Moz think that overall, Buzzfeed's SM strategy isn't as innovative as people tend to think, they point toward silent videos as their strongest point. First of all, they are square, which makes them look good on many devices. Secondly, as they are silent, people can watch them whenever they have time, even if they are in a public place and don't have their headphones on.
ABC NEWS — INNOVATIVE VIDEO STRATEGY
In 2016, ABC News employed a number of innovative video solutions to increase their social following. Since then, they have been mixing live video, edited videos with text overlays, GIFs, and 360° video to enhance their content. Thanks to such diversity, they increased their following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by 65% in a year.
HUFFINGTON POST — FACEBOOK-ONLY COMMUNITIES
Huffington Post is trying to reach new audiences by creating Facebook-only communities. In December 2016, they launched "Canceled Plans" Facebook page for introverts, which now has 229k followers. At first, they didn't post their own content. When they introduced their articles, they had four times more shares there than on the HuffPost Lifestyle Facebook page, despite the latter having 17 times more followers. Now, they are also testing pages for millennial Muslims, women who love to travel, and local politics.
In conclusion, top U.S. publishers employ various interesting social media strategies, such as creating Facebook-only communities for people with specific characteristics or interests, experimenting with different video formats, focusing on silent videos in a square format, and promoting content in messenger apps. Additionally, The New York Times has an innovative Snapchat strategy and Fox News creatively reuses underperforming content.