Social Media and the News

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Would you be surprised if we told you 62 percent of Americans said they get their news on social media? As the typical consumer, think about how much time you spend on social media every day. Whether you’re putting off the latest task on your to-do list or idly scrolling as you catch up on your favorite TV show, we spend a lot of time online. Hard to argue with that when we know that 1.65 BILLION people in the world are active on Facebook every month. If you think about that from a brand perspective, that’s a lot of eyeballs ready to take in their news on social media – and hey! You’re on social media, too! But, are you putting your brand’s coverage in front of this captive audience?


A recent study from Pew Research Center found that almost two thirds of Americans said they get their news from social media. If we look at the data broken down by network, 70 percent of Reddit users said they get news on the site. 66 percent of Facebook’s and 59 percent of Twitter’s users said the same. As marketers and PR pros, what does this tell us? There is a HUGE audience on social media just waiting to soak up your latest PR hit or piece of content. If you’re not promoting your content (even if you’re driving traffic to a publication and not back to your website), you’re probably missing out on a good portion of your potential readers.Here’s how.


Syndication is a great way to put your client’s latest media hit or piece of stellar content in front of the captive social media audience. Rather than blasting the coverage out to the abyss of your followers (who probably won’t see it anyway), you can put a small budget behind your content and develop highly-targeted audiences.Each social network has varying audience targeting capabilities and offerings, including retargeting (putting the content in front of users who have engaged already with your brand in some way). Just because your brand doesn’t have a large following on any one network, doesn’t mean you can’t run a syndication campaign. This is your chance to grow your following and put your messaging in front of new audiences. While the goal of the campaign isn’t to gain followers and fans, you’ll likely see this as a secondary result.


Now that your campaign is up and running, let’s talk measurement.If you’re promoting content on your own (or your client’s) website, tracking is the same as any other outreach campaign. Make sure you’re using the right tracking tags on your URLs and hit go. If you use Google Analytics, you’ll be able to easily find your campaign data here:


When you’re promoting a recent media hit and your link lives on the publisher’s website (i.e.,, your tracking will not be as exact as if you had access to analytics data. Rather than tracking web sessions and behavior, you’ll be restricted to click and impression data from the ad network you’re using. You can also check out your referral traffic if the article included a link back to your client’s website.Pro Tip: if your client has a long sales cycle, you can go back into analytics after the fact and check out the campaign or channel’s assisted conversions. This shows you where someone came to the website as a result of your syndication and media hit, and then went on to eventually make a purchase or complete a goal in some way.

What not to do

Keep in mind, the worst thing you can do when running advertising campaigns of any kind is the age-old “set it and forget it” mentality. Be sure you’re checking in on your campaign at least once a day. This gives you the flexibility to make adjustments as you go, rather than simply report on the results at the end of the run.I’d be remiss if I didn’t include one word of caution. As with most social media tactics, use your best judgement and promote your brand’s news where it makes sense to do so. Although most Reddit users find their news on the site, Reddit’s user base has been notorious for smelling promotional messages from a mile away.Use these tips to take advantage of the news-seeking eyeballs on social media and share your client’s latest hit with the world!Tori SabourinSenior Marketing Analyst[cta]

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