Monthly Archives: June 2010

Newsrewired: so how many readers plus DO we have?

I WAS overwhelmed by the positive reaction to my presentation at last week’s excellent news:rewired conference, but slightly annoyed with myself for not having a better answer to Hannah Waldram’s question afterwards.

My presentation was about building online communities, and the concept of the reader plus – the elusive category of cheerleader readers: demanding customers, but the most effective marketing you could ever ask for.

The slides from the presentation are here and the post where I first came up with the lamer-the-more-I-hear-other-people-say-it “readers plus” is here.

In the questions afterwards, Hannah asked me what percentage of our readers did I think were readers plus. The best answer I could come up with then was “I’m not sure.” But really, since I’m trying to persaude people that the time spent getting them is worth it, I should know. So I’ve been thinking about it and here’s my best estimate.

Flickr: I’d say 25 per cent are genuine readers plus. I know this because we talk to them not just on Flickr, but on Facebook and Twitter and face-to-face occasionally! Because what they do is just a specific area of interest, I think the very fact of our taking an interest has been enough to transform the way they think about the paper or at the least challenged their expectations of us.

Facebook: The best I can say here, is I’m working on it! Putting effort into Facebook is a recent development, and Facebook doesn’t tell you how many times your links are shared by friends, so the only thing we have to go on is comments and traffic figures coming to our site. As I said on Friday, traffic from Facebook has tripled and comments are building. We’ve got some facebook friends who definitely COULD be readers plus but I’m not sure we’re quite there yet!

Twitter: Based on retweets and interaction, I’d say twenty percent of our twitter followers are definite readers plus. It may be more, but obviously I don’t know what people are saying about us when I’m not listening!

Hopefully that’s a fuller answer than “I don’t know” – and sorry I didn’t say this at the time.

For those who asked about how exactly we use facebook etc, you can see for yourself here: (my work profile) (our Facebook page)
We also have a pretty neglected YouTube account at, and of course there’s the comments at

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Facebook: lessons I’ve learned about using it

Recently those of us who work for Newsquest have been taking part in some best practice social media workshops (main lesson learned so far: no two twitterers are alike and they all think their way is the right way!).

As a result of chatting with fellow web types about Facebook (main lesson learned there – no-one really knows how best to use it!) I’ve made some changes to our pages and profiles, which have doubled the number of the clickthroughs we’re getting.

They were really straightforward changes, so I thought I’d outline them for anyone who might be interested.

First: RSS Graffiti for Facebook – the best way to feed your news to Facebook, whether you’re cheating with a profile (of which more in a second) or using a fan page. It looks pretty and it doesn’t dump all your stories at once, but in relatively real time to when you post them.

Second: we had been using a profile, simply because the only way to actively find and friend people on Facebook is to have a profile. We’d set this up in the paper’s name, not mine, because I wanted the paper online to be it’s only personality and not connected to a specific person. However. This is generally frowned upon and people who are sussed out can have their accounts closed down without warning.

So I invited all our friends to “like” our page. Almost all did. I changed the name of the profile to Bournemouth Echo Sam (the name change had to be approved by Facebook) and started using it to share news links fed through to our fan page.

I also turned off the link that fed all our Twitter updates to our profile page, to stop all the news stories being replicated.

The page changes have been massively successful, although I’m finding that the best way of generating interaction with our posts is to comment or like them myself.

The profile changes have changed the way other people on Facebook treat me – because they can see I’m a real person now I’m being approached a lot more, on chat and by email. It’s more time consuming – if I want a story from the paper to appear on my profile I have to remember to manually post it – but with more than 70,000 potential fans in the Bournemouth network, it’s got to be worth the effort.