Traditional media outlets are often criticized for failing to embrace social media in the same manner as other organizations.
There's a pretty simple explanation for this: The fundamental source of income for traditional media outlets and brands is to sell advertising space in exchange for exposure to an audience (via content).
When that isn't your main source of income, “giving away” content is a lot easier to swallow, which is why automotive, drinks and fashion brands are so fond of social.
However, the smarter operators have realized they can use social media channels and tools—especially in real-time scenarios—to stay in their audience’s “consideration mix.” That is, when a consumer is considering between you and your competitors, he or she will lean more favorably towards you because of the value you have added elsewhere.
Here are five examples of traditional media using social media to help encourage consideration elsewhere (and increase general engagement).
1. Metro.co.uk uses Storify to curate hostage situation in real-time.
Storify enables users to take the bits and pieces from a story as told on social media channels and create a “best of” summary.
The Storify editor tool is easy to use—it consists of drag and drop functionality—and you can re-order your version of the story in real-time as events develop.
has used Storify lately to supplement online reporting on breaking news, which is often being scooped up by social media users and shared, driving referral traffic to Metro.co.uk
. Very clever.
2. The Wall Street Journal's “how do you start your morning” activity on Instagram.
Instagram is an obvious channel for traditional media because these outlets rely on photography to tell stories, and Instagram is a popular photo-sharing app.
The @wsj Instagram account
has been used in a number of interesting ways, ranging from the sharing of screen grabs of breaking stories to re-releasing classic images used in the past to coincide with breaking stories of a particular day.
One of the more user-focused ideas involved asking people to send in pictures of their morning routines, tagging it with #morningWSJ, which would then be considered for publication on WSJ.com
3. The New York Times makes the most of the Facebook Timeline.
Facebook's new timeline feature has created several new opportunities (and a few headaches), so it’s important to look at how these can be used.
This example, while simple, is also very clever. The Timeline format loves landscape photography that sits across both columns of the page. Recently, the Times promoted its coverage of baseball's opening day with a brilliant landscape image, using the new format to its advantage.
4. The Economist invests heavily in Google's social layer.
I get the feeling that someone with background in search engine optimization sits highly within the marketing team at The Economist
. The magazine appears to fallen in love with Google+
Its use of Google+ is especially interesting; the publications has more than 730,000 people following the page (a mind boggling number considering the nature of the content), and it appears to be using the platform on a daily basis to complement the weekly print edition.
5. Reuters Social Pulse—a hub for social media.
The final example was launched in February and offers a glimpse of what the future might look like from a content curation perspective.
Reuters Pulse uses some nifty widgets, among them a real-time chat of the most social CEOs in the world, according to Klout, and a tracker that compares share price with social media sentiment.
Again, this tool gives a contemporary slant to a well-established media business.
A version of this story first appeared on AdamVincenzini.com.