Social-first publishing is the most effective way to reach your audience in a crowded content world. Why? Because users’ online habits are changing. Time poor, (and more often than not) mobile users have become channel/destination specific - they’re heading primarily to Facebook or Instagram to get their news and entertainment fix in one hit. Media industry executive and Vice President of US-based Folio Tony Silber said: “The way people use media has already changed. People have migrated to the platforms. And that’s a big challenge. People don’t even go to the home page of their favourite site anymore, because they’re going to find out most of what they know via Facebook.”
For content marketers this means the tried and tested model they’ve been using, of creating one piece of content and distributing across all platforms, has had its day. Social has got serious and each channel needs its own tailor-made content, which can then be curated on your content hub. If you still need convincing here are 4 reasons why you should switch to a social-first publishing strategy too:
1 If you’re not publishing on social, the chances are, no one will be reading your content
One billion people are active on Facebook worldwide. More than 100 million people are on Instagram each month. SnapChat has 150 million daily active users. These are figures that blow every media company’s circulation figures out of the window. It’s clear that between Facebook, its sister company Instagram, and the four-year-old messaging app SnapChat, they now own most of the world’s audience. US media pundit Jeff Jarvis said recently on Medium: “Our websites are no longer destinations. In young people’s lives, content is not a product to be consumed. For them, content is a social token that feeds their conversations. How can we still presume to force people to come to our sites first when our content can travel to them?”
2 Publishing content on social means it’s more likely to be viewed, especially if it includes images
It’s been widely documented that visual content is more likely to be viewed and shared on social, than plain text posts. According to Hubspot, coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Every news outlet and blogger knows that without a visual aid to support their copy, plain written text it’s more likely to be overlooked. Hubspot’s research backs this up. It found that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
3 Facebook’s algorithms are more likely to prioritise brands using Instant Articles
OK, there’s no proof in this statement, yet. But many social media commentators are speculating that Facebook’s algorithm will favour brands that publish using Instant Articles. Writing for The Content Strategist, associate editor for Contently Dillon Baker said: “Once users are accustomed to Instant Article’s load time, they likely won’t want to visit external links. Facebook’s algorithm will also likely prioritize Instant Articles. That’s exactly what happened when Facebook muscled in its native video player onto the network, which has become a favourite of brands and publishers over the past two years. Brands hoping to grow their content reach and brand awareness will love publishing directly on Facebook, especially considering the reach of Facebook’s incredibly powerful ad platform.” Using tools like Flockler to create your own content hub, will let you publish your blogs and news automatically as Instant Articles on Facebook.
4 Social-first publishing increases reach and improves engagement
Finnish media company YLE Kioski has been using a social-first publishing model for more than a year, and already seen amazing results. For a relatively small media company, publishing in a Nordic country in its native language, many of its news reports have hit the world’s headlines. Most notably its report on HIV suffer Janne Antin went viral last summer. Made for, and published specifically on, its YouTube channel, the film “I’m HIV Positive, do you dare touch me?” was designed to highlight what it felt like to live with HIV-related stigma, as well as raise awareness for the terminal illness. The film documented the public’s reaction to Antin standing in a bustling central Helsinki park next to a sign, ‘I’m HIV positive. Touch me!’. The YouTube video attracted almost six million viewers (surpassing Finland’s population of 5.4m) and was syndicated on the BBC, BuzzFeed and The Independent.