Social media has become a powerful medium for any brand, business, product or service that seeks to make its presence felt. Print media publications like newspapers have integrated social media endeavours with their offline efforts to make a mark. Let us take a look at some Indian newspapers and how they are using social media.
Building a Brand: The Mint Experience
Mint, a financial daily, has an audience base composed entirely of the digital kind. They deem themselves as an integrated newsroom, which can be justified by their procedure. In the first step, they break news, and in the next, they analyse the news, followed by an opinion piece an hour later.
Their reasons for using digital media were: dipping latency, change in media habits and social media.
Mint also uses Twitter, whereby reporters tweet from an official account. It also taps the multipliers among editors who have a large following; and they retweet.
They also use the ‘Cover It Live’ stream to cover big events besides Storify and Pinterest. Mint’s social media policy has evolved over time and there is a lot that Mint’s counterparts can learn from following them closely.
Cool Social Media Initiatives: The Hindustan Times Experience
For a print media publication, Hindustan Times has done well in terms of using social media, as opposed to its counterparts. After two successful years, the Hindustan Times (HT) No TV Day was back for its third season in June this year. The idea behind the campaign was unique, and was designed to help people experience Mumbai in its true spirit. Amid the hustle and bustle of life, the essence of the campaign was to encourage Mumbaiites to ‘Switch Off the TV’ and enjoy time with their near and dear ones exploring the sights and sounds of the city called MUMBAI.
Tying offline activities like helicopter rides, science workshops, even Shiamak Davar’s Dance workshops with an online engagement initiative on Facebook, was an innovative approach of the campaign.
Overall the campaign was a move in the right direction for Hindustan Times, especially since they want to widen their reach and make their presence felt in the digital space. But, what really stands out in the end is Hindustan Times’ desire to give back to the people, by creating an event that makes people get up and do something to enjoy their city like never before.
Boosting an Online Presence: The Hindu
The Hindu launched a redesigned website in August 2009. Their former editor-in-chief N.Ram and one of their directors Malini Parthasarathy are very active on Twitter. However, it has been noted that some of their best writers are inactive in the social media space.
The Hindu’s online development is poised for big changes. Several initiatives the paper plans to work on are: The Hindu Facebook, The Hindu Twitter, Chennai Central Facebook, Chennai Central Twitter, Chennai Central YouTube, and other pages for the arts, books, and cinema.
A major part of The Hindu’s online presence is Chennai Central, where new experiments with social media are being conducted. Initiatives like monthly photography contests which crowd sources their pictographic material, monthly architectural tours of the city, daily news/features/status updates, daily podcasts/videos, and monthly newsletters sent to our online audience are all being carried out.
Tweeple and DNA
The DNA team is experimenting with social media. All their reporters are on Twitter and they were the first newspaper to actually carry Twitter handles with bylines.
DNA reporters are using lists, which are currently WIP and they reporters/photographers/subs/bureau chiefs are added to them. The lists are used to retweet reporters and more often to break news, a lot of which is very local, like announcements for trains not on schedule or accidents on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Twitter is also used to interact with readers and to reply to them on a daily basis. They also follow readers to keep a finger on the pulse of their reader base. These trends are then taken to edit meetings to keep track of the kind of content being consumed. DNA has also used Vine videos for engagement.
Indian newspapers are aware of the long-term potential of social media, but not all have implemented it in a major way. The developments cited above may classify as pioneering and things certainly seem to be becoming more vibrant and interesting on the social media front.