FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM ANALYSIS
The purpose of this section is to define best practices in Facebook and Instagram for the Palm Beach Post. This section will detail an analysis of their current network use and recommendations to make it more effective based on industry best practices.
Facebook: Current Landscape
Currently, the Palm Beach Post has one main Facebook page, which has 49,091 likes. The page contains a mix of national news, local news, crime, sports, entertainment and human-interest stories. These stories typically have higher rates of engagement than the Post’s other, minor Facebook pages. The other pages include pbpulse.com and pbgametime.com. These two pages have 5,008 likes and 2, 487 likes respectively.
The pbpulse.com page focuses on a mix of local and national entertainment news. Posts also include restaurant, movie or activity reviews and blog posts from various entertainment reporters. Some of these posts are linked back to MyPalmBeachPost.com, the paid content site.
Pbgametime.com’s page content focuses more on local high school sports. These posts contain a consistent rate of low engagement. While it may seem like good, consistent content for the page, posts of the weekly edition of The Playbook are some of the least popular content throughout all the Facebook pages.
The Palm Beach Post has the most consistently popular and engaging content of the three pages. This may be related to the audience size of The Palm Beach Post relative to pbpulse.com and pbgametime.com.
Facebook: Issues and Solutions
While there is not a litany of issues associated with these various Facebook pages, there is vast room for improvement. Let’s look at Facebook first.
Because Facebook has been identified primarily as a traffic-sourcing tool, we must look into ways of expanding and maintaining the audience. One way to expand the audience, that may also seem a little bit counterintuitive, is to fold pbpulse.com and pbgametime.com.
Pbpulse.com and pbgametime.com do not hold a large enough audience that their own Facebook pages are necessary. A recent study from AllFacebook.com, says that only 17% of the audience on for a Facebook page is actually seeing posts at any given time.
This means that of The Palm Beach Post’s audience of 49,222 likes, only 8,368 are seeing any given post. The main page fares far better than pbpulse.com, which averages at 851 actual post views or pbgametime.com, which averages at 423 actual post views.
In terms of audience development, these actual post views do not constitute a large enough viewer base to be worth allocating additional time and resources to the continuous posting and monitoring of these pages. These websites also drive traffic away from PalmBeachPost.com and to other sites where the ad revenue cannot be measured. Instead, folding them into the main Palm Beach Post page provides for more varied content and more localized content. This is an especially important part that will play into audience management.
Secondly, it is important to pay attention to the content being linked to. The pbpulse.com Facebook page, consistently links to My Palm Beach Post content, which is paid content. This frustrates any user that wants to read the article, but can’t because of the paywall. As a result, they’re not engaging with the content and are loath to return to the page and consume content.
Our third recommendation would be to include a social login on the PalmBeachPost.com homepage. According to a study by Gigya, unique visitors with logged into a site through their social network will stay on a site 50% longer than their standard counterparts. They will also look at twice as many pages as their counterparts. This means that a user logged in through a social network will be twice as profitable as a user that is not logged in. This is a finding we recommend The Palm Beach Post capitalize on.
Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to some of the best industry practices. These include keeping posts less than 250 characters in length, using rich media, or photos and videos in your posts, whenever possible, and keeping it personal by not selling anything, engaging your audience in the conversation and by keeping your posts locally relevant.
Localizing posts are just one way to maintain audience engagement. People who like The Palm Beach Post on Facebook know that it’s a local paper with a good reputation, much bigger than pbpulse.com or pbgametime.com. Using content that has a local and even personal touch creates a strong connection between the consumer and the brand.
Instagram: Current Landscape
Currently, the Palm Beach Post Instagram has a decent following. There are 331 posts, 809 followers and they follow 94 people. Unfortunately, this has following has only resulted in 12 page views between November 1st, 2012 and October 31st 2013.
Instagram: Issues and Solutions
Again, the only issues on the Palm Beach Post’s Instagram feed result from a lack of attention to industry best practices. Following these simple methods could easily optimize the Palm Beach Post Instagram platform.
It is important that Instagram posts are short, sweet and relevant. They can include a direct link back to the Post website, but the link must be visible within the context of the copy in order to be effective. If there is too much text to read or understand the purpose of the visual, it cannot tell a relevant brand story or elicit a connection with the user.
Another best practice that would be beneficial if followed, is the use of a posting schedule so that users can come to expect posts on a certain day. For example a Friday post could feature a picture of a cocktail with a brief description of drink specials at a local venue.
Additionally, it is important to have high quality images on your Instagram feed. As a newspaper with salaried photojournalists, low quality photos poorly represent the Palm Beach Post’s journalistic brand. Photos like the one featured below are unacceptable to have on an instagram feed. Here’s a basic rule of thumb; if you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the Sunday edition, it probably shouldn’t be on the Instagram feed.
It is also important to know your audience when developing an Instagram. This will help you develop an effective brand story. Understanding your audience can also help you understand what segments of your content might lend itself well to being featured on an Instagram feed. Instagram users tend to skew young, so it may be beneficial to keep the content light and community based. This leads into the last recommended best practice, which is to have fun with it!
Instagram doesn’t have to be a serious, hard-hitting platform. In fact, hard news is not what it was designed for. Instead, use it to show the beautiful, fun and intriguing parts of your community. This photo is a good start.