The State of Local Media on Social

Published on Apr 9th, 2015

by Gloria Stitt

Shareablee recently presented the State of Social: Local Media which addressed the core question: “Is social really an important piece to strategize about in the local space?”

In 2014, social activity within the Local Media industry (specifically TV) grew 125%, a higher rate than the average US brand, which grew 108% in 2014 compared to 2013. Because social has become an incredibly important platform for news consumption, local media outlets have started focusing on expanding their social media footprint. While some DMAs are fixed on increasing fan growth and loyalty, other DMAs are strategizing to grow and expand overall social footprint and increase a social presence in general.

Below, we have compiled recommendations based on our analysis of the Local Media space. There will be a follow-up post to this that will present the top performers in the Local Media space and the best practices that drive social success

  1. Focus on Demographics

In general, fan growth is mainly attributed to Millennials who more and more are consuming news on Facebook. Social media presents the news in a format that they like and allows for multiple POV’s, which helps readers contextualize news in a format that they can relate too.  Most social media users tend to follow up to four hard news topics at a time. But, guess what? They are not the only ones engaging in news.

There is a total of 46.1M potential viewers in the 45-64 age group. And, the 65+ demographic is projected to see the largest increase in social media users (to 16.6M) by 2016 . While the age demographic on social is still younger than the average News consumer demographic, this chart shows that there is huge opportunity to pull in a younger audience who is “discovering” news socially.

  1. The Sticky Factor

The total social networking universe is approximately 185+M users in the US alone. And they are spending several hours per month engaging with news. People are “discovering” news more and more via social. Once a follower finds news or content they are interested in – they have a sticky factor with the organization that brought them the news first in a relevant manner that they can relate to.

According to Pew research, Facebook users are engaging with news stories at a higher percentage than you might think:

  1. Promote Brand Loyalty

Why is the sticky factor important? Brand loyalty. Once they engage they have a higher rate of return to your brand hence having a higher level of brand loyalty. With this comes the potential for more reach, audience growth and higher ratings

Once fans become loyal, you need to analyze where else they are ingesting content, from who and to what degree. Understanding your fan base’s affinity with other brands, publishers and properties reveals opportunities and vulnerabilities with respect to your competitors’ audiences, and exposes partnership opportunities and potential prospect opportunities.

  1. You Need to be on Instagram

Instagram is growing and impacting the Local space at a faster pace than any other social platform. Instagram grew 343% Y/Y in 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down. It is a missed opportunity in the Local space, which has fallen behind in its adoption of the platform compared to most brands in the social universe.

  1. The Power of Social Video

Still not sure video on social is worth it? Video is exploding on social and Instagram is having a huge impact on that. 53% of video engagement came just from Instagram. Video is highly shareable, with shares growing 140% in 2014 compared to 2013. Video shares are now 38% of what is shared on Facebook. This is an incredibly important point for entities such as local TV that produce an amazing amount of video content.


It is no longer a myth that social plays a critical role in helping to grow your audience and ultimately plays a role in your ratings growth. Don’t lose sight on the advantages that local media has which national outlets don’t have:

An endless trove of rich, good content. Though national outlets have much faster-growing engagement since they are active on multiple platforms and have a geographic advantage, Local has the ability to own a local geography and pull in national audiences with the right story resulting in a more even playing field. That’s the beauty of owning all that content.

Local content usually creates what eventually goes viral. Most stories that have gained national recognition were first published by a local entity.

No matter what, we all rely on our Local News channels to bring us the story. It doesn’t matter if the news is global or national; consumers want to hear it from their trusted news source.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on Social and Local. Stay tuned to our blog where next month we will feature the top social Local media brands and their social best practices.

Download the full State of Social: Local Media by clicking here .

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