This review is a part of our ‘Social Media Strategy Review’ series where we do a 360 degree analysis of a brand’s entire social media activity. You can read the reviews of more brands here.
ABP News is an Indian news channel owned by ABP Group. It was earlier known as STAR News and was owned by a joint venture between News Corporation owned STAR TV/Fox International Channels.
There is no shortage of content for ABP News but what needs to be improved in their overall strategy is content management. Content can be effectively channelized and integrated such that it is branded and consistent across all the channels. This is where the strategy lags behind.
Platform-wise S STRATEGY:
Mass media is known to be the powerful channel that gives voice to the people. The same symbolization has been depicted in the cover photo of ABP news Facebook page. Nevertheless, right below the cover picture, a user is denied to write on the wall of their Facebook page.
Initially bilingual, ABP news is now a complete Hindi news channel (apart from ABP Ananda and ABP Majha.) Appropriately, most of the updates on their Facebook page are in Hindi. They include breaking news and real time updates.
These news updates usually trigger discussions and sometimes heated debates amongst fans. This is indicated in their high engagement rates. There are as many comments as the number of likes on most of their posts.
ABP news usually stays aloof from these discussions and debates. I have never seen it reply to any of these comments. Anyhow, to some extent, that is how should be. But considering the fact that social media is a two-way platform, it demands an open dialogue and a deep-rooted bond between the channel and its viewers.
It also takes advantage of the the Facebook questions feature to gain public opinion.
I have observed that there is too much text on the ABP News Facebook page. High quality visual content can help them break through the clutter. Pictures can describe a story better than words. They create more impact and have the potential to go viral.
The news channels’s Facebook page also has a jigsaw puzzle application. Users can solve random jigsaw puzzles as fast as they can. Fastest players can see their names displayed on the leader board. It is a fun, user friendly app. However, it strategically shows real-time breaking news updates and drives traffic to the ABP News website.
ABP news has multiple accounts on Twitter for updating news in both the languages – Hindi as well as English updates. Users generally follow news channels on twitter for live updates. Most of the users rely on Twitter to be well informed, thanks to its real-time nature. It has taken over the traditional sources of news; it has replaced even Google for that matter for live content discovery! News publications and media channels reap the benefit of this constantly updates medium.
However, using twitter as any other broadcast channel is a bad idea. Like any other news channel, ABP News too has quite a number of followers on Twitter but using it only for news updates makes it mundane. I cannot see a human behind their handle. It is as good as automated updates.
They can quote/ retweet politicians, senior party leaders on twitter ensuring credibility of the source. Live match scores, important stories, can be unfolded under a branded hashtag. Twitter can also be used to have expert talks/ twitter chats, live interviews, and opinion polls during elections, events, etc. I am sure the Indian Twitter users will embrace such initiatives with maturity.
I feel ABP News is missing many things on Twitter. Everyday we see political, local, national news trending on twitter. News channels have a lot of scope to take advantage of this platform.
ABP News’ YouTube channel has over 35408 subscribers and 18,791,572 video views. Being a news channel, no wonder it has lots of video content. However, I could not see any extra effort apart from the TV videos.
They also have an app on Google Play.
Comparison with Competitor:
Aaj Tak has a bigger community as compared to ABP News. Consequently, its engagement rate is also high. The overall content strategy of both ABP and Aaj Tak is more or less the same. Aaj Tak Posts updates on Facebook several times in an hour which I believe is bombarding fans with content.
Like a true news channel, that actually listens to people, it allows its fans to write on their wall unlike ABP News. Moreover, it has a right to be heard tab on its Facebook page that caught my interest. Right To Be Heard initiative allows you to Upload videos, post complaints and suggestions on various issues and agendas on righttobeheard.in. The initiative will help you reach out to the right authorities and ensure that you are heard and get the speedy justice that you deserve.Viewers can make a phone call to voice their opinion or they can simply use the hash tag #RightToBeHeard and tweet to them.
Here’s is an interesting app on Aaj Tak’s Facebook page, following the Delhi Bus Gang rape. This app allows users to chose a any street at Delhi that they find unsafe. Aaj Tak is using Facebook effectively to give a voice to the people and to create awareness among them.
There is only Facebook cross-posting on Aaj Tak’s Twitter profile. I could not see them using twitter to engage in conversations. Just like ABP News, Aaj Tak’s YouTube Channel is full of television video snippets.
Comments on Strategy:
Content is the key player in any successful strategy, and being news channel, ABP News has no dearth of content. All it has to do is to use it effectively and integrate it.
It fails to have a complete a circle that connects all the dots. I find the overall Social Media Strategy of ABP News quite satisfactory, but it can be much better.
Users are now are exposed to multi-screen media. They would read newspapers, watch news on the television set, verify the facts on Google news, read it on their Ipads and share it on Twitter. I appreciate that ABP news is trying its best to adapt to the connected world – as I mentioned earlier about its android application.
However, it should allow some dialogue between its viewers/online readers and selected newsreaders/ editors.
Feedback on Strategy:
Social Media can be leveraged more efficiently as a real-time medium, unlike other channels. It can also be used for exclusive editorial content. An integrated approach would be more rewarding.
As a broadcast medium, ABP News should try to make the most of these multi-sided Social media channels. They can not only telecast news, but also seek public opinion on various issues. Their strategy should involve the community and encourage the people to have a voice. They can encourage them to be alert citizen journalists and award them exclusive features on these online channels. After all, news is a SOCIAL construction of reality.
It is clear that ABP is using social media like a Newspaper is used. A newspaper is a broadcast media and users cannot talk back unless a few of them write letters to the editor. In the same light ABP seems to be leveraging social media through just one way communication without caring much to answer or engaging fans and followers. As a source of news a media platform like ABP is sitting on a goldmine of possible UGC discussions through its social forums and instead of leveraging them to drive citizen journalism most of the efforts seem to be going into only content dissemination. Clearly much more can and should be done.
Expert View by Rajiv Dingra Founder & CEO of WATConsult – An Award Winning Social Media Agency.
Analytics support courtesy: Simplify360