Social Best Practices from Media Publishers

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.

27 Things To Do Before You Settle Down

Posted by BuzzFeed Video on Monday, March 9, 2015

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.

"Have been making these for 40 years.My grand-kids call them 'smash Cookies' because we smash them down with a glass….

Posted by Taste of Home on Monday, June 8, 2015

  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.

"'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are the Champions' are #Queen's most widely known songs, and their most contentious…. 'We Are the Champions,' by #FreddyMercury, proved controversial even within the band. #BrianMay was afraid it might be taken as oversized arrogance, and told Mercury, 'You can't do this.' Mercury said, 'Yes, we can.' The two songs proved massively popular – and off-putting to some, helping inspire one Rolling Stone critic to scorn Queen as 'the first truly fascist rock band.' Both songs, May has said, were designed to be stadium chants, 'with audience participation in mind.' In both songs, Taylor has said, 'It's meant to be a collective "we" – meaning us, the audience, whoever's listening. It's not meant to say, "We are the best fucking group, so up you" – more a sort of general bonhomie.' Some listeners have also heard 'Champions' as Mercury's sly, subversive avowal of gay forbearance, though all these interpretations have been upended by how the songs became the universal bully chants of victors at sporting events." From the July 3rd, 2014, issue of @RollingStone. Photograph by Richard E. Aaron

A post shared by Rolling Stone (@rollingstone) on

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.

22-year-old loses 270 pounds, bravely reveals his excess skin to spark an important point about body image:

Posted by Cosmopolitan on Friday, March 20, 2015

  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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