In Cleveland, Fox 8 has 150,000 Facebook fans, and The Plain Dealer has 7,000.
Designer and educator Chris Snider notes that this imbalance provides the TV broadcaster access to 21 times the potential audience for news and promotions via the social network.
Snider sees the same pattern in other cities, including his local market in Des Moines, Iowa. With social media becoming increasingly important as a traffic driver, he writes that TV stations are gaining the advantage simply by marketing to and engaging with their audiences more aggressively.
Fox 8 in Cleveland posts to Facebook frequently and picks a “fan of the day” to feature during a broadcast. WHO-TV in Des Moines, he says, mentions its Facebook page frequently during newscasts.
In a post last month Snider reported that the top newspaper on Facebook, The New York Times, had over a million fans, but the paper in tenth place, The Arizona Republic had only 20,000.
He argues newspapers need to step up their social media efforts:
“My suggestion is to find a way to reward people for being a fan of your page on Facebook. Ask readers to submit photos to your fan page and consistently run those photos in print. Ask for reaction to a story and then run some of those reactions in print. Run a box with a popular story telling readers that they can discuss the story at your Facebook fan page (and avoid the trolls commenting on your news site).”