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3 Facebook Features That Benefit the Media

When Facebook first launched, users searched for classmates and dorm room friends. Now, 63 percent of users (up from 47 percent in 2013) log into their accounts to get the news.

In fact, Facebook users are more likely to post and respond to news content than Twitter users.

Why the shift?

Facebook has understood its role in the media landscape and has leveraged it by adding tools and features for news outlets. And according to the State of the Media 2016 Report, 18.7 percent of journalists surveyed view Facebook as the social platform most likely to continue adding value to their workload needs.   

But what does this mean to communication professionals hoping to get media coverage?

Here are three Facebook features that demonstrate the shifting media landscape and tips on what you can do to leverage these tools.

1. Instant Articles

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The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, The Washington Post and The Guardian are just a handful of the major media outlets currently publishing to Facebook’s Instant Articles. Per the social media giant’s blog, the program will be available to publishers of any size, located in any country on April 12.

Instant Articles ultimately aims to speed up load times on mobile devices by opening the articles users want to read in fewer clicks. Publishers also have the option to sell ads which appear alongside their articles, reap 100 percent of the revenue made and track the data on which ads work best with their Facebook audience.

The program is also compatible with comScore, Omniture and Google Analytics, allowing publishers to see how much traffic Facebook is driving to their native content, what types of articles are most engaging and how long readers are staying on the articles. For example, the major French political newspaper, Libération, recently noticed a 30 percent increase in time spent over a two-month span, publishing 150 articles each day.

Tip: First, ensure your brand’s website is mobile friendly. Instant Articles’ emphasizes faster load times, so you’ll want to ensure your brand has updated its website to reflect this trend. Brainstorm ways to repurpose content into multimedia formats too. Cision’s Media Research Team predicts video- and image-based content to continue trending over the next year.

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2. Signal

Over half (51.8 percent) of the journalists surveyed in the State of the Media 2016 Report noted that they use social media to find and build stories. Furthermore, approximately 56 percent have incorporated user-generated content into their news articles over the past few years.

Facebook paid attention to the way journalists were using the site and launched Signal in September 2015. A newsgathering tool for journalists on Facebook and Instagram, Signal allows journalists to see data on what’s driving the most conversation, including which hashtags and location-tags correspond with what news events and which public figures are mentioned most.

Signal also allows journalists to search and save posts, images or videos for later use and embed content onto their own news sites or broadcasts.

Tip: To stand out from the other noise on Facebook, ask your influencers to join a conversation you’re interested in getting involved in to increase your reach and impact. If you can leverage the right hashtag at the right time, you may find your brand quoted by a journalist using Signal.

3. Trending Now

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Last June, Facebook revamped its Trending Topics sidebar by splitting the list into five categories: politics, science, technology, sports and entertainment. This feature provides another simple way for users to access and share news.

Facebook uses an algorithm to aggregate daily headlines and determine what is popular on Facebook, rather than consistently updating what’s breaking like Twitter. Another difference is that Facebook uses headlines to give more description to what’s happening.

When a user clicks on a topic, they’re taken to a News Feed page with posts from the outlets covering that topic or mentions of articles already shared or commented on by friends. Essentially in a few quick clicks, users can see others interested in the same story and interact with them.

Tip: Use your social listening tools to see what’s trending and think of how you can incorporate your brand’s perspective to gain media coverage. If you notice a topic (e.g. the Super Bowl) continues to trend over a period of time, think of ways to pitch a new angle for follow-up stories journalists may consider running.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

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