Dainik Jagran’s intentional use of Facebook builds Hindi community

by Bharat Gupta        

Facebook key to building “sticky audience,” engaging online readers in a dialogue through social media.

Click the image to view a larger versionIndia is among the top three fastest-growing markets in the world, and has one of the youngest online demographics globally. About 75% of its online audience is between the ages of 15 and 34 years. 
As Internet accessibility in India grows by the day, and an increasing number of Indians join the broadband bandwagon, Dainik Jagran needed to come up with effective ways to reach out to the online community. 
The problem was how. 
While most Indian publications were online, the social media platform had not really been cracked by the Indian media industry. Many other publications, both in English and regional languages, had tried their hand at social, but without concrete results.
Dainik Jagran’s Web site is already the largest Hindi news site in the country. And as we were looking for growth opportunities, social media was the obvious choice, both to build engagement and also to drive traffic to the Web site. 
We chose Facebook as the social network to target first, simply because 95% of the online Indian population is on Facebook. Other social networks cater to only 10% to 15% of the total Internet audience in India. Not only is there a potential to attract Facebook’s large base of youth users to the Jagran fold, but the audience itself is very sticky and visits Facebook frequently. Time spent is also high. 
We studied the news consumption patterns of the Hindi audience on Facebook, i.e., what our audience wants on social media, and started generating content. On one hand, the content fulfilled the needs of the audience; on the other, it brought traffic to our Web site. 
By posting what people want, we not only drive traffic to our site, but also have built a sticky audience that interacts with our posts on an unprecedented level. 
We kept three things in mind while approaching the platform:
  1. A content basket with a variety of content for the user was an absolute must. The basket includes a calendar of events, comprised of birthdays, world days, events, etc., for which we prepare exclusive content. We also make space for breaking news. Each post must have a purpose and can be categorised on the basis of engagement, virality, traffic-pulling potential, or brand promotion.
  2. We need to maintain the delicate balance between engagement and traffic-building. Engagement methods, measured by the “talking about us” feature on Facebook, seldom drive traffic to our content on the Web site, and traffic-building methods are generally not posts with which people interact a lot. Both types of posts serve a different purpose. But both have a tradeoff that needs to be carefully measured for balanced growth of the Facebook community. 
  3. The page should be self-managed. Often businesses treat Facebook as a marketing medium rather than as an extension of the brand itself on the platform. Hence, they often outsource the platform to agencies. We realised that a self-managed page is not only economical to maintain, but also gives the best results. We understand the audience and are the best judge of their needs and expectations from us.
This strategy worked for us, and we have seen our fans and “talking about us” increase exponentially. 
We realised that the “talking about us” is a more important factor than the number of fans, as more the “talking about us” we saw, the more people we reached. We were successfully able to grow and sustain the “talking about us,” which is not only helping us find new users, but also is increasing our engagement with them.

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