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Social media engagement, reach, traffic dilemma poses challenges for news publishers

By Shiddhartha Das

Prothom Alo

Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Social media marketing has evolved into a vital component of a company’s overall marketing strategy.

With the number of social media users reaching 4.95 billion globally, accounting for 61% of the world’s population — and Facebook alone boasting more than 3.05 million users — it is clear social media is an essential marketing channel.

The number of social media users is expected to rise to 5.17 billion by the end of 2024, indicating social media will continue to play a critical role in the future.

News publishers are juggling multiple challenges and metrics in a quest to maximise social media.
News publishers are juggling multiple challenges and metrics in a quest to maximise social media.

News publishers and television media have also jumped on the social media bandwagon, but they face significant challenges in capitalising on social media.

A report published by Similar Web in October 2023 shows social media referrals to Web sites have significantly decreased over the past three years, making it more challenging for news publishers to increase Web site traffic.

The problem lies in significant algorithm changes by social media giants such as Facebook, which discourages third-party links and emphasises graphical content instead. This poses a significant problem for news publishers, whose content is primarily text-based.

What could be the strategy for the news publishers then?

The social media algorithm

Representatives at Facebook say the Feed “shows us stories that are meaningful and informative.” We’re more likely to see content from sources we interact with, including friends and businesses. If we interact more often with video, we’ll see more videos. If we engage with photos, we’ll see more photos.

The Feed prioritises posts with a lot of engagement, especially from people we interact with a lot. You get the idea!

Millennials and Gen Z make up 80% to 90% of frequent social media users. They are obsessed with videos and motion graphics. That’s why content creators are the next big thing in social media.

To overcome this issue, news publishers must revamp their social media content strategies and prioritise creating appealing graphical content that increases reach, resulting in higher engagement and Web site traffic. Moving away from traditional methods such as link sharing and embracing interactive social media strategies can help news publishers stand out from the competition and build a robust social media community.

After developing a solid social content strategy, it’s essential to determine the right combination of post frequency and publishing times to optimise engagement. One way to do this is through A/B testing, where different post mixes are compared to identify the most effective approach for your specific region and fan page.

There are a lot of social media users, but turning those users into engaged audiences referring others can be challenging.
There are a lot of social media users, but turning those users into engaged audiences referring others can be challenging.

It’s also crucial to recognise that not all posts will be equally successful on different social media platforms. As such, content should be crafted and designed separately for each platform to ensure maximum engagement. What works well on Facebook may not be as effective on Instagram or other platforms, so it’s important to tailor content accordingly to achieve maximum impact.

Social media community management

If you are finding it difficult to keep up with the ever-changing nature of social media algorithms, you are not alone. These algorithms can be quite mysterious and unpredictable, which means that what may work today may not necessarily work tomorrow.

However, there is a solution that can help overcome this challenge to help achieve success on social media. Building an active social media community is one of the most effective ways to grow reach and maintain it even when the algorithm is not in our favour. By investing time and resources in this approach, we can improve brand loyalty and strengthen customer relationships, which is crucial in today’s market where brand loyalty is more difficult to achieve.

Additionally, by actively participating in conversations on social media, we can increase our brand’s visibility and introduce it to potential new fans beyond the boundaries of our own profile. This can help take brands to new heights and achieve the success we deserve.

About Shiddhartha Das

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