Time magazine has become one of the most popular news brands on Google+, with over 1.2 million users adding Time to their circles on the social network. Cathy Sharick, managing editor of Time.com, shared some tips for achieving success on Google+, as reported by Journalism.co.uk.
According to Sharick, knowing your audience is key; she advises anyone managing a news site to keep asking questions and figure out what the audience finds most interesting. “We are posting content that we know resonates with the readers. It is tech content, that is something that we know that the readership likes, but we also know that people are looking at our in-depth coverage and enterprise stories.”
Having pieces that spark conversation (like the controversial breast-feeding cover) can also help to drum up interest on the social network.
Sharick believes that Google+’s personalized search results have helped drive traffic; once a Google+ user adds Time to their circles, stories from Time are ranked higher in that user’s Google search results.
In addition, Time is taking advantage of several features unique to Google+, including circles and hangouts. Sharick recommends that social media managers target their circles, providing followers with the type of content they are more likely to engage with. And so far, Time has held two hangouts on Google+ based on recent cover stories. The latest Google+ hangout was live with the “We Are Americans” cover story about the life of undocumented immigrants. Sharick reports: “We were able to bring the people participating to life and really personalise the story on the hangout.” Plans for more hangouts are in the works.
Other key elements to building a strong following on Google+:
- joining social networks early – Time joined Google+ as soon as the platform opened up to brands in November
- add a Google+ button to each news story
- encourage comments – Time’s Google+ followers are “very talkative,” according to Sharick
Time has a strong presence on several other social media platforms, including over 543,000 fans on Facebook; 39,000 likes on Foursquare; and 3.6 million followers on Twitter, where it is the “#3 news brand.”