Social Best Practices from Media Publishers

Published on Sep 1st, 2015

We're diving into the best practices that can be learned from top media publishers on social. Social media audience engagement as a whole grew 52% year over year (H1 2015 vs H1 2104), but media publisher engagement rapidly outpaced other industries, growing 68% during the same time period. We can break down the drivers of this social growth into three categories: Usefulness, Re-Living Experiences and Discovery/Knowledge.


  1. Usefulness


BuzzFeed Video captures audience engagement by posting content that resonates with millennials, many of whom lead healthy, fit, or fast-paced lifestyles. The publisher has also seen success on posts accompanied by shareable captions under 14 words, capturing 34% of total social actions from 33% of its total social posts.



How To’s are also highly shareable, attracting a loyal audience and driving social clicks.

Recipes made up 88% of Taste of Home ’s content, most of which were user-generated. The publisher led the industry in social amplification (sum of shares and retweets) with more than 7.5M shares and retweets in H1 2015. Nearly one-third of Taste of Home ’s audience is loyal, returning to engage two or more times.



  1. Re-living Experiences


National Geographic Travel actively re-posted user-generated content on Instagram, and engaged with its followers through contests to share outstanding entries on the publisher’s account. Overall, these posts produced over 58.7M total actions, which accounted for 97% of total audience engagement.



In H1 2015, media publishers such as Vogue , Vanity Fair , Rolling Stone , and The New York Times went back in time to showcase great artists from the past and highlight moments to re-live their glory.



The top Facebook content in U.S. Media Publishing included touching, personal stories of strength, love, and courage. The top three video posts which included positive, inspiring messages, together drove in more than 2.4M social actions. Moreover, 49% of those actions were attributed to shares, and together the three posts received more than 1.7M shares on social. The messages evoked through these inspirational stories also show that social audiences are more likely to share content beyond celebrities and entertainment stories.



  1. Discovery/Knowledge


In H1 2015, Business Insider engaged with its social audience on Instagram through captivating photos to encourage followers to discover and explore new travel destinations. Posts containing these travel-worthy images produced 42% of the brand’s total audience engagement from only 25% of its total content posted on the platform.



The Economist shows how content including interesting visuals on topics that resonate with social audiences of all ages can offer a mutual benefit for both the brand and the consumer. While The Economist uses the content to boost engagement, its fans and followers share the posts to show their respective social communities of their smart findings.



Vogue took to social media to re-live experiences through its posts, while remaining in-tune with current fashion trends and hot topics to resonate with its social audience and stay in the know.



Numerous brands in the Publishing industry also interacted with their respective social audiences on important issues, such as the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.  On Twitter, the top 100 tweets garnered more than 140K total actions with the third top post from the New York Observer receiving over 3K retweets and more than 14K clicks.  Brands who were part of the #LoveWins campaign, following the historical event, also often included emojis to engage with their followers on social.

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