For Long Islanders, by Long Islanders: Providing Community During An Unsettling Year
2021 Finalist

For Long Islanders, by Long Islanders: Providing Community During An Unsettling Year

Newsday Media Group

Melville, United States

Category Social Media

Overview of this campaign

The goal was to create content that would resonate with Long Islanders, as measured by number of comments, shares, reactions and video views. We did a months-long metrics dive across our main social platforms and studied behaviors and interests, particularly on high performing stories/videos. 

We also aimed to increase the number of followers on Facebook and Instagram, since research has shown people who follow a publisher are four to six times more likely to subscribe. One specific approach we had for Instagram was to experiment more with posting breaking news.

We also wanted to experiment with deeper storytelling, from using the caption space on Instagram to social-first videos to graphics that highlight information for our audience. Under this campaign, we always tried to apply the test of whether we were creating something local and unique that would speak to a Long Islander. Instead of just promoting content that might do well, but didn’t add to the conversation.

Finally, one of our key goals was to increase our coverage of traditionally underserved communities. Whether defined by race or age (we wanted to get more millennial and even Generation Z voices out there).

Results for this campaign

Our strategy shift resonated with our audience, and we were able to significantly increase our engagement metrics. On Facebook, we increased reactions on an average post by 14%, comments by 15% and video views by 132%.

                 Reactions Comments Shares Video views

Early 2020  164           67           51       1,467

End of 2020 187          73           51       3,400

On Instagram, we increased likes on an average post by 16%, comments by 73% and video views by 18%.

                    Likes Comments Video views

Early 2020      330      15          4,390

End of 2020    386      26          5,207

We increased our following on Instagram by 25%, to 53,645 followers. On Facebook, we grew from 650,791 followers to 655,896, before losing some followers after the November election. 

In 2020 we were able to create more content for underserved communities, in part because coronavirus disproportionately took a toll on Black and Hispanic Long Islanders, and because we increased coverage of racial justice issues after the George Floyd killing and resulting protests. We covered nearly every march and protest on Long Island -- at its peak, there were 10 or more each day -- and even had a video go viral about a passionate 7-year-old (822,100 views and 12,000 reactions on Facebook).

We’re also attracting more millennials and Generation Z. We found Instagram Stories with lots of personality perform well because our audience can relate to the person. For example, a “takeover” by our food reporter and food critic dining in a bubble for the first time got a 56% completion rate. Another highlighted young Long Islanders who spoke about why they were protesting, which got a 78% completion rate.

In 2021 we’re planning to further grow this segment of our audience, with a new program where we recruited 5 millennial/Generation Z Brand Ambassadors. And we’re launching another social media initiative where 5 of our 6 Newsday Voices members -- who are sharing their stories about how the coronavirus impacted their lives -- are millennials.


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