How to use social media to interact with subscribers

By RJI on July 25, 2012 0 Comments Ideas

Today's the last of three installments which provides social media tips, that are simple and fast adjustments you can make today. These tips, designed to better engage and retain readers and advertisers, were developed by Brad Best, RJI's advertising editor, and a team of Missouri School of Journalism students after weeks of analysis of a major Midwest metro daily.

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  • Facebook is a very useful tool to implement online discussion and to develop loyalty with subscribers.
  • One way to interact with readers using Facebook is to ask questions on the site. Use it to begin discussions about events.
  • Make sure when you do ask questions about an event, you use it as an opportunity to link back to one of your news stories on the event. This will drive traffic to your site.
    • Posting questions regarding recent stories, either local or statewide, often successfully draws in commenters and generates interaction.
  • Use visuals to make your messages more effective. Posting cartoons or images of the day’s print newspaper cover can really add to the layout of your Facebook page.
  • Implement new technology and media into your social media efforts. Posting edited videos of the day’s events keeps your page current and interesting.
  • Local sports, particularly posts that summarized a game with a photograph and link to a column about the game, received notably more comments, shares and likes than simple reposts of others’ summaries.
    • Sports generate the most traffic of any section on a website, so they should be an important focus of your Facebook page as well.
  • Finding a balance between daily posts and conversations is important. Too many posts will clog users’ feeds, and readers will begin to unsubscribe.
  • Remember to prompt the reader to read the website story posted with the discussion question that’s on Facebook. This way, there is both interaction and traffic driven to the newspaper’s site.


  • Incorporate your Twitter feed on to your home page. This will attract your site’s readers to follow news on both platforms.
  • Simplify implementation of the Twitter feed on your home page. Current analytic trends show that the fewer times a viewer has to click to get to their desired location, the more likely they are to follow through to the end.
  • Create separate, specific lists that tailor to followers’ interests.
    • These lists enable followers to pick and choose what they want constant updates about.
    • Create lists based on the most popular and tweeted news categories: sports, weather, certain reporters, health, etc.
  • Interact with your followers. Reply to mentions, retweet relevant information and start tagging reporters and followers in your tweets. This increases cohesiveness.


  • According to research, more hours are now spent on Pinterest than Twitter.
  • Pinterest is a great opportunity for photos to go viral. Using Pinterest to share society photos is a good opportunity for local interaction.
  • Papers often struggle with increasing traffic for their entertainment section, and Pinterest provides an ideal outlet for that type of information.

How can papers make their niche brand pages more successful?

  • The main goal when improving niche brand pages is to drive more traffic from social media and internal links to those pages.
  • According to Niraj Shah, CEO of Wayfair, utilization of Pinterest has the potential to increase traffic to niche pages by 70 percent.
  • Post pictures to Pinterest that link back to the particular story the photo was used in. This can drive more traffic back to the site.
  • Items pinned to Pinterest should come from the areas that have the highest click-through rates on the homepage. According to ClickMap, these are headline photos, photos and societal photos.
  • Equally important as Pinterest is making your social media buttons for each niche brand clear and visible. Put them at the top and bottom of each page so readers won't overlook them

Want to know how these tips will affect your bottom line?

Each market is different, and each news organization has a unique footprint. Brad Best and RJI can analyze your traffic and other key digital metrics to show you exactly how and where to grow your digital revenue.

You'll be surprised at the dollars you are currently leaving on the table. Call (573) 884-9121.

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