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February 03 2012


#newsrw: What’s the best time to tweet and post to Facebook?

The social media optimisation panel at news:rewired – media in motion tackled the ongoing issue facing every media outlet that uses social media: How do you use it effectively to reach your audience?

The panelists were: Nate Lanxon, editor, Wired.co.uk@NateLanxonChris Hamilton, social media editor at BBC News; Martin Belam, the Guardian’s user experience lead; and Darren Waters, head of devices and social media at MSN UK.

Using social media “effectively” can mean different things depending on the organisation. For the Guardian, that meant creating its own Facebook app, which launched in September and already has almost 60 million users. More than half of the almost 6 million users of the Guardian’s Facebook app are under 24, Belam said.

“We’re not going to attract a new, young audience with a print product,” Belam told the audience.

MSN UK and BBC News both have Facebook pages and numerous Twitter accounts. The staff at Wired UK, for example, use their Facebook page to share what’s going on at the office.

“We’re making Facebook a kind of behind-the-scenes fan club,” said Lanxon, the site’s editor. “We don’t get a huge amount of traffic from our Facebook fan page. That’s not the focus for us. What people love to do on Wired’s Facebook page is to get a look at behind the scenes stuff.”

And wondering when’s the best time to post to Facebook? According to Lanxon, these times are best:

  • First thing in the morning when you get into the office;
  • Lunch time;
  • 3 p.m.;
  • Between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

LIVE: Session 2B – Social media optimisation

As more journalists become active on social media platforms, now is the time to think about how to share news more effectively. This session will look at social media optimisation (SMO) – when best to share news on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, to maximise readership.

With: Nate Lanxon, editor, Wired.co.uk; Chris Hamilton, social media editor, BBC News; Martin Belam, user experience lead, the Guardian; and Darren Waters, head of devices and social media, MSN UK.


The ultimate goal is to combine live news, social elements, traditional reporting, and editorial curation. Then we’ll have got social media optimised.


MSN now have their live blogs embedded into Facebook, and allow the users to contribute their comments.


On the website, some additions are making the experience more social. “Recommended reading” and adding a “Trending” widget are two examples.


MSN are in the process of building a foundation for social, because if they “engage with us on social media, they then become loyal users of MSN.”


Waters says that optimisation is tricky because there are so many contributors to the discussion. How do we make sense of it all?


Head of devices and social media at MSN is talking next, I believe: Darren Waters.


“We want our stories to share themselves”

Wired.co.uk are getting rid of their own comment system, and building in Facebook comments.


When do we post to Facebook?

First thing, lunchtime, 3pm in the afternoon (when things winding down), and 5pm when people get home.

Twitter doesn’t matter so much.


We’re moving our share buttons up to the top of the articles, because people will share an article based on the headline.


This isn’t about driving fans to Wired. It’s about driving Wired to fans.


One example – our roof falling in and taking a picture got more interaction than the biggest news in a long time, Facebook going public.


Traffic is not the focus for the Wired Facebook page. It’s more about posting pictures and giving a “behind the scenes” look.


Lanxon has whipped out a big photo of Mark Zuckerberg. It stays on his desk, and serves as a reminder to A) use Facebook, and B) you’re not doing as well as him.

Post something interesting, not an RSS of headlines.


Nate Lanxon, editor of Wired.co.uk, will speak next.


On to Google+, again we’re talking about hangouts and how to differentiate yourselves from the competition. A lot of agreement with Liz Heron’s keynote earlier.

The BBC is placing a lot of emphasis on shareability – it got some of the most shared comments on Facebook from the UK media. Facebook will be a focus for this year.



Top tweets from last year:

Top two were on the Japanese tsunami.

Science and technology tweets also do well, such as about CERN.

Pictures and adding hashtags also helps, and makes sure you’re part on the conversation.


Focus on your strengths – RT’ing correspondents, offering live news, video coverage.

Also amplifying popular programs to show the depth of what the BBC does.


The BBC run three core Twitter accounts. It used to be feed driven, but recently introduced a more human element.

We focussed on the quality on the tweeting.

We wanted a consistent tone, and not to just say what everyone else was saying. It’s important to build on the headlines- adding value is essential.


Chris Hamilton, social media editor at the BBC is now talking. He will attempt to cover what the BBC is doing on Twitter, and then move on to Facebook and Google +.


The content is embedded in the app is all from the Guardian, embedded in an iFrame. This means that any adverts, barring a few Facebook ones down the side, are the Guardian’s – it is a revenue stream.


However, there are problems with archive content. What about news content? readers need to know, so there’s been iterations to make the date clearer.


The app gives a platform for old archived content to really bloom with contemporary content. Old articles have gone viral and had hundreds of new comments.


The app was built on the Guardian Open Platform API, which means it was built in 5 weeks.

The more of your friends’ faces you can see, the more likely you are to bee engaged, say Facebook.

Guardian are now very close to 6M app installs. Most interestingly, the demographic of the app, the majority are in the 18-24 age bracket.


Martin Belam, Lead UX at the Guardian, is starting the session, discussing their Facebook app.

They now have all content- audio, video etc in their Facebook app.

They aimed to improve one thing: 77% of people coming from Facebook only viewed one page before leaving. The Guardian website “interrupts” Facebook.

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