Best Secret Sauce for News on Facebook and Twitter

week 3 ass 3

Facebook formula dominators

The Biggest Facebook Publishers of January 2015 is a great glimpse into which news organizations are making the most out of story distribution in the top media platform in the world. According to News Whip (Corcoran, January 2015), huge names like the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed were grappling with newcomer of the year for 2014 PlayBuzz. Rounding out the top 10 include Fox News, NBC News, The Guardian, The New York Times, Mail Online, BBC and Yahoo. The results are based on Spike tracking stories, videos, and other content that people are sharing and engaging with in real time.

So what exactly is once again list dominator PlayBuzz doing to clean up in terms of overall shares and top stories? Providing nine of the 10 most-engaging stories on Facebook like What Was Your Past Life According To Your Memories? which received more than 1.9 million interactions to bring their monthly total shares to 10 million.  The News Whip report also attributes the leader of the pack’s belief in ‘playful content.’ “It might seem difficult to believe that quizzes could have such enduring appeal to readers, but many can’t resist the fun personality-revealing results. The thousands of Facebook comments endorses the phenomenon. Month after month, these quizzes are mopping up engagement on News Feeds.” Some of the most popular quizzes include ‘What Crime Did You Commit In Your Past Life?’ (2.67 million interactions); ‘What Is Your True Personality?’ (1.84 million); and ‘What Holiday Matches Your Personality?’ (1.67 million).

Overall Facebook Leaders

In terms of current overall interactions, the Huffington Post dominated with more than 52 million with BuzzFeed also in the top three of the leader boards. The Mirror Online is the biggest steady climber which Mirror Head of Social Media Heather Bowen attributes to targeted Facebook posts. Mail Online with over 13.8 million interactions recently acquired former top 10 member Elite Daily (20th overall). Let’s keep our eye on what unfolds with their joint ownership content strategy that could prove to be interesting.

Similarities in Popular Stories

In terms of what Facebook readers are actually reading, the most-engaged pieces are a departure from the usual ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’ A sample of The Huffington Post’s heavily-shared story headlines are ‘10 Things Your Mom Never Told You’  and ‘10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With The World.’ One of BuzzFeed’s biggest stories is ‘26 Pictures Will Make You Reevaluate Your Entire Existence.’ Stories about the UK election on BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post got as many social shares, and often more, than content published by traditional UK newspapers. (Rayson, May 2015) 7 lessons from the Most Shared Content on the UK Elections

Out of the top 150 articles, many fit into the “wacky and intriguing” category with the other popular pieces focusing on self-help, overcoming family challenges, better mental and physical health and listicles. The Huffington Post is not resting on their laurels and has already enacted the next step to their dedication of providing the human-side of news for Facebookers. They are on the verge of launching section covering stories “of people and communities doing amazing things, overcoming great odds and coming up with solutions to the very real challenges they face.”

Leaders in Shares, Comments and Likes

Which news medium is receiving the most likes share and comments based on percent of total interactions (Oct. 2014):

Most Likes: Bleacher Report (85%); The Huffington Post (65%); Fox News (61%)

Most Shares: PlayBuzz (35%); BBC (29%) and Mail Online ((23%)

Most Comments:   PlayBuzz (35%); Mail Online (25%) and BuzzFeed (21%)

With Facebook looking as though it may be directing more attention to breaking and ‘hard’ news in the near future with the reported expansion of its trending feature, news publishers will be battling even more for attention and space. In times of major breaking news, traditional outlets are likely to find themselves jostling for space on news feeds alongside digital newcomers, with high traffic and engagement potentially at stake.

Twitter Audiences Share Some Similarities and Differences

In April, Twitter sharers were most interested in NYTimes articles: “South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder of Walter Scott,” with 39,400 shares; Earthquake Devastates Nepal, Killing More Than 1,900,” was second and “A Rapid Rise by Shawn Mendes, in Tune With Social Media.” (Moeller, May 2015) Sex, Money and Chipotle: Most shared Stories from US News Sites April 2015.  In the BuzzSumo report, these same articles had proportionately high shares on Facebook as well. One story that had a successful share rate on Facebook but extremely low on Twitter was “Obama Calls for End to Conversion Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth.”  In further comparison, LinkedIn generally favors Business News, Google+ leans towards entertainment news and Pinterest readers covet recipes from newspapers.

There is also a lot of credit for loyal reader’s part in driving shares. “Research indicates nearly three-fifths of Twitter’s 15 million UK users follow at least one national newspaper brand or journalist²,” said Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics. “Twitter is an ideal tool for driving additional traffic to news content and our research indicates that many leading newspaper sites are succeeding in this area.

Learning Lessons from the ‘Bigs’

Across the board, both Facebook and Twitter users share many of the same type of articles with Twitter sharing more breaking news. Some valuable measures we can all take away and put into practice from these social media engagement gurus is simple. Give readers what they want peppered with continuously trying something new until you find your own desirable recipe.  The posts that are the most shared have a uniqueness–whether it be any combo of a super headline, exclusive news, humorous video, great topic, engaging photo, or intriguing subject. You’ll always be able to determine what they like by keeping a continuous pulse on social media analytics and statistics. Even with these numbers you can never replace really listening to your readers. Facilitate dialogues, be genuinely interested in what they have to say by building a long-lasting loyal readership.


(Corcoran, November 2014) Meet the Newcomers: The Biggest Facebook Publishers of November 2014

(Corcoran, January 2015) The Biggest Facebook Publishers of January 2015

(N.A., January 2015) Top Newspaper Sites on Twitter: Guardian Stories Most Shared

(Moeller, May 2015) Sex, Money and Chipotle: Most shared Stories from US News Sites April 2015

(Rayson, May 2015) 7 lessons from the Most Shared Content on the UK Elections


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