Journalists See 320% Increase In Facebook Subscribers

A Facebook analysis studying journalists’ use of the subscribe feature finds that the group have experienced a 320 percent average increase in subscribers since November, 2011.

However, this feature only became available in September 2011, and this analysis is only based on 25 media profiles.

They’re journalists from national, state and local media outlets who have been using the subscribe feature since it launched in September, 2011.

Regardless, that reporters who are using subscribe on Facebook are seeing a much broader audience for their content.

Facebook claims that more than 50 reporters from The New York Times and more than 80 from the Washington Post are using the subscribe feature, in addition to small publications and international reporters (The staff of this blog also have subscribe buttons enabled).

According to the study, users are finding journalists on Facebook organically, either through their friends’ news feeds or seeing a story and searching for the reporter’s name on Facebook.

Why are journalists having such success with the subscribe feature? Here’s some advice taken from the report.

Content Trends

  • Questions and Input: 25 percent of posts contain a question for the reader. In an separate study, Facebook found that posts seeing input received 64 percent more comments, likes or shares.
  • Links: 62 percent of posts contain a link. And when reporters include analysis with the links, those links receive 20 percent more referral clicks on average.
  • Call to Action: 30 percent of posts contain language like “check out my interview with” or “click here to read this.” Posts with a call to action receive 37 percent more engagement than an average posts.
  • Photos: 12 percent of posts were photos. Posts with photos receive 50 percent more likes than posts without photos.
  • Videos: 13 percent of posts are video.

Key Takeaways

So of the content that journalists are sharing, what actually works? The study found that several types of content seem to produce above-average feedback from subscribers:

  • Commentary and analysis on current events and breaking news receives three times as many likes and two times as many shares as the average post.
  • Reader shout-outs can increase in feedback by as much as fourfold. Also, asking for recommendations can lead to a three times increase in comments above an average post.
  • In-depth analyses on global issues can yield a 150 percent increase in likes and 250 percent increase in shares.
  • Powerful photos can double the engagement rate. Also, behind-the-scenes photos resulted in up to a fourfold increase in likes, comments and shares.
  • Humor in posts or a humorous picture can yield a 150 percent increase in likes and almost fivefold increase in reshares.

Readers, if you use Facebook’s subscribe feature, what’s been your experience?

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