This post is all about social media and how it can be used effectively, to do this I will be comparing the social media accounts of the Casper Star Tribune and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Both of these are news papers in Wyoming and I though that this would be the most interesting to analyze because they are both newspapers and have a lot of thing in common.
Both Newspapers had well designed webpages, though this post is mostly about social media I though it would be helpful to take a second and look at the websites independently. If one was to google the name of the either of these newspapers the first place they would likely end up is on the website. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s front page was easy to look at and had relevant articles front and center, the overall navigation was intuitive and I especially liked that all the news categories were on the top of the page and that I was able to find an about section. The first thing you see on the Casper Star Tribune’s webpage is a large poorly designed advertisement that dominates the front page, after scrolling through it you get to the top stories section and a few more ads; while there is some pictures, over all the website is lacking compared to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
From there I began to look into the social media accounts, it is important to keep in mind that these are primarily print publications who first a foremost focus on creating something physical. But as the news market shifts towards online content and stories, newspapers have been struggling to stay relevant. With that said, for small community newspapers such as these, a strong social media presence can be hit or miss.
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
For the Wyoming Tribune Eagle I was able to find a Facebook page and a Twitter account, beyond this I was able to find a few Instagram posts (36) at #wyomingtribuneeagle but no formal Instagram account. Their Facebook page has about 12,000 likes and each of their posts has a few comments and likes; this shows that people do look at the page but do not spend a ton of time engaging with the content, often times small newspapers will use their Facebook to route people back to their website and attempt to get people to subscribe to the online section of the publication, this is exactly what the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s Facebook page is going. One thing that this publication is doing with Facebook that I think is effective and interesting is their through-back Thursday posts where they post a historical picture with the context of the pictures (Example). This has a high cultural appeal that could potentially keep people coming back to the Facebook page and could potentially spark interesting discussions on a weekly basis. Overall the Facebook page is good and what one would expect from a small local paper such as this one. I found that their Twitter account was a lot better than their Facebook account. They have around 8,300 follower and post multiple times a day, using pictures and media to enhance and support their content. Though there is a number re-routing posts to get people back to their website and in front of the pay wall, which can be frustrating if you are not subscribed to their publication. Although the Wyoming Tribune Eagle is not widely represented across different social media platforms the ones that they are on are well done with a relatively good following of people behind them.
Three things I think they are doing well:
- Having a consistent and homogenous look and feel across the platforms that they are on.
- They are good at posting interesting up-to-date content and their historical throwback Thursday posts offer an interesting perspective.
- The overall feel of all of their online content feels authentic and is relatively ad free.
Three things I think that they could improve on:
- They could do more work to get on more social media platforms, especially Instagram. Personally, Instagram is the platform that I use the most and I know that I am not alone there, they are missing out on an entire population and are missing outreach opportunities.
- I understand why paywalls are necessary and they do a good job at having a number of free articles, but it could be helpful to have more content that doesn’t lead to a screen to purchase a subscription.
- They could advantageous to try and engage with their follower a little bit more, asking questions and responding to comments are great ways to make people feel that they are valued more.
Casper Star Tribune
The Casper Star Tribune is much more represented on social media compared to The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, I was able to find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Across all of these platforms they had good follower counts and had a homogenous look and feel, I’ll address each of them one at a time in that order. Their Facebook has around 45,000 like and followers, beyond having more followers they are posting a lot of the same things that the Wyoming Tribune Eagle did, this mostly includes posts that lead back to the CST website, what is different is that they do not have a paywall and instead they advertise heavily and ask visitors to answer survey questions before they can continue reading the article. Their Twitter has around 10,00 followers and they post multiple time a day, though their content does not really differ from links back to their website for stories. Their Instagram is really well done and has a lot of great pictures, they have around 1,400 followers and post on most days. Though the pictures are good they do not get a lot of engagement, averaging their last 20 posts shows they get around 51 likes which is about 3.6% user engagement this is relatively low considering the numbers that other accounts get with a similar following. Pinterest is something that I have never used so I cannot speak to the quality of their page compared to others but my impression of it is that it is a lot like Instagram, they have a lot of good pictures and it is consistent with the rest of their platforms. The Casper Star Tribune is well represented on social media and have a solid number of scribers, this is to expected because they do have a lager circulation then Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
Three things I think that they are doing well:
- They have a lot of great pictures for all of their posts, this is really important due to how visual these mediums are, pictures attract and help keep people around longer.
- They do not have a paywall, instead they ask you to fill out a survey and answer a few questions, this can be a pain but you do get to see the articles without having to pay.
- They are easy to find because all of the platforms that they are on have the same name, @CStribune, this is convenient and easy to remember.
Three things I think they could improve on:
- When you look directly at their Facebook pictures they have the same picture repeated multiple times in a row, this is a tactic used to get more views but to me it come off as spamy and unprofessional looking.
- Their website as a lot of ads, they do this so they don’t have to charge people to look at content but it also is distracting and doesn’t make me want to stick around the website for very long.
- They should have more original posts, by this I mean posts that do not link back to story; along with this they should engage the public more, replaying to comments and directing posts to the public.
There a number of things that both of these publications could to improve their social media presence, but like I mentioned above they both are primarily print organizations and their focus does not revolve around social media. This touches on an issue that a lot of community papers face, there is no denying that people are no longer looking towards print newspapers for their news and as time goes on this will only become more of a reality. But another trend that we are seeing is that there is a big for original content, perhaps the biggest there has ever been. The better that small newspaper like these can transition onto the internet and social media platforms the better they will do in the future. In this rapidly moving market they will have to move as fast as possible or get left behind.