BBC and its Use of Social Media

In News Website Analysis on March 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm

BBC has a steady stream of tweets coming out. About 5 tweets per hour. I would say this is a good amount of tweets an hour. Websites like Huffington Post have a twitter feed of up to 30 tweets an hour. That amount of tweets really tends to dominate your twitter feed, like it does for my twitter feed as shown on the side:

Of the ten tweets on my feed, eight are Huffington Post’s. This great amount makes me generally skip over everything they tweet. By tweeting a bit more scarcely like BBC does I get more of a feeling that if they do tweet it is actually something I would care about.

BBC has several twitter pages you can choose to follow @BBCNews is for a UK audience, @BBCWorld tweets about worldwide issues, @BBCBreaking tweets about major breaking news events. @BBCBreaking has a significantly lower amount of tweets per hour, so by choosing between these pages you have somewhat of a control of the amount of tweets you see.

@BBCBreaking has the greatest amount of followers: nearly 3 million, versus BBCWorld that has roughly 1.7 million followers and @BBCNews, which has about 600k. One of the thins BBC can do to increase these numbers is becoming more conversational on twitter. Many news organizations use twitter primarily to post headlines, but much more effective, according to Steve Buttry. “You can and should converse with the community and colleagues on Twitter as many different ways as you converse with the community and colleagues in person and by email,” he says. BBC rarely asks a questions, retweets or replies to something from someone in the community, or comments on their own stories, rather they just post headlines.

Better than their Twitter Page is their very well organized Facebook page. It has a good homepage that shows you exactly where to navigate to to like what your interest is in. Furthermore, unlike twitter this page is much more interactive.

Interestingly enough, the pages don’t have as many likes as you would think. The amount of likes barely reaches over 3,000 for World, a rather low number. Asia even has as few as 724 likes. Significantly lower than the New York Times’ 2.1 million likes, even though their interface is significantly less advanced.

After you have liked the page, short, snappy headline updates will then appear on your newsfeed.

Unlike many other news websites who use a “Social Reader” that shares what stories you’ve read, your friends cannot see the stories you read on Facebook, only the ones you choose to ‘Like’, comment on, or share in Facebook. The Social Reader can be considered an intrusion, it shows all your friends you’re reading about Justin Bieber or the Kardashians, without you even realizing it. However, in terms of attracting readers it seems to be effective. BBC could consider utilizing a Social Reader as well.

On Facebook BBC asks its audience to interact, they ask for opinions and discussions, which leads to many comments and likes on their posts.


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