Newspapers on Facebook Deliver Great Results

Newspapers on Facebook defy the conventional wisdom of when and how often to post.

They also run counter to the recent trend of Facebook distributing fewer and fewer posts to people who Like a page.

The above two statements are conservative. Newspapers do fantastically well on Facebook, even ones that don’t pay any attention to their Facebook pages.

Dallas on Facebook
A Dallas Morning News post gets nearly 500 likes, comments and shares within an hour of being posted on Facebook.

Conventional wisdom says post no more than once or twice a day. Newspapers post six, 10 and even 15 times a day.

Facebook itself says that average organic reach is about 16 percent of likes. Many other sources say that reach has fallen to less than 10 percent. Ogilvy & Mather reported an average of 6 percent.

Many newspapers see weekly post reach of 200 to 300 percent.

How is it possible that post reach exceeds the number of Likes?

The answer lies in the fan engagement. When a fan likes, comments or shares a post, they may appear on the timeline of friends of that fan, even if the friends haven’t Liked the page. They also can appear on the timeline or news feed of another page if someone has shared it there.

SocialBakers reports that the average engagement rate is less than 1 percent for all pages and declines as pages gain Likes.

For aggressive newspapers, the average engagement rate is 30 to 40 percent.

If the goal of a Facebook page is driving traffic to the parent Web site, the numbers get even better, in some cases 50 percent or more of Likes each week. That’s a lot of free advertising and audience growth.

How They Do It

The newspaper experience reveals a massive gap between certain industries with Facebook performance.

Newspapers on Facebook deliver great results because of the nature of what they do. They produce breaking news of high local interest. Geographic targeting is narrow and deep, i.e., the local community.

The content often has high potential for conflict, comment and sharing — a school budget cut, a controversial election, a murder case, etc.

They also produce a lot of photos, and photos of people get a high response rate, especially if the Facebook user knows the person or people in the photo.

What newspapers do can’t be easily duplicated for several reasons.

1 Many businesses don’t have enough content to post six or eight times a day.
2 The content that can be posted isn’t as compelling as breaking news.
3 They don’t have many photos — or any at all.

But they still offer some lessons on what many businesses can do.

Lessons from Newspapers on Facebook.

An article on another Web site had the following comment about people who complain that their organic reach on Facebook has declined: “Your Reach is down because your Facebook marketing strategy sucks.”

Well, maybe yes, maybe no. It’s not quite that simple.

As already noted, performance may vary greatly by industry. Time and budget constraints also play a role. The skills and experience of the person doing the posting also can matter.

What newspapers on Facebook reveal is that the most important factor is the response rate.

If engagement goes up and the trend for Likes remains positive, keep posting. Spread the posts throughout the day. Carefully consider how each post is written. Look for creative “headlines” that catch people’s attention. Post photos whenever possible, especially of people.

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