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.
With huge popularity levels in terms of viewership, Times Now, the 24×7 English News Channel was started in 2006, as part of the Times Group.
The majority of fans at 35.74% on Facebook are above the age of 40 while 24.74% are between 31 and 40. Only 26.59% of the fans are females while 73.41% are males. Times Now’s social media presence is in sync with the target audience of the channel.
Times Now on Facebook
Times Now has a community size of 6,24,000, with a growth rate of 12.1%. The channel posts frequently on an average of 5 to 6 posts a day.
Times Now’s Facebook page has links to entire videos, with the use of good visuals and mostly real time updates. There is a syndication between the web and TV channel, with a general awareness being created about the topic that is under debate on that day’s News Hour in a small 2-3 line status update.
This is something other channels are lacking, and should probably learn from Times Now. It is important to create a buzz and urge people to watch your channel even after the show has ended. That is effective marketing for a news channel, while the other kind works well only for the website’s page views and impressions.
The frequency of updates is pretty decent with one update going out every hour.
In terms of engaging content, Times Now does the best job in the English news segment. This is because the channel works on questioning, along with informing people about what is happening, which works rather well for social media.
The news channel posts links to their YouTube Channel. Additionally they should post these as videos and not as links within descriptions.
Moreover, the cover photo space is used very effectively. The cover is important to highlight all kinds of important information and details about a brand, and needs to be changed from time to time. Not using cover photos is sheer wastage of creative space. Times Now has used it brilliantly to project a clear message.
One thing that does not make sense is their practice of posting 3-4 updates about News Hour within a gap of 1-2 minutes. This spams the reader’s news feed and disintegrates the engagement of each post rather than compelling someone to watch the show. A better option would be to have one post, but one good engaging post.
Times Now on Twitter
On Twitter the channel has a follower count of over 2 lakhs. With an average of around 60 tweets a day, Times Now does a decent job of posting news updates. The media channel imparts content in its pure form via their Twitter handle. However, at present the nature of the tweets is extremely text heavy and the brand could move on to post more images and videos.
The channel uses hashtags such as #BreakingNow for breaking news and tweets from shows with the name of the show such as ‘#MorningNow’. Its latest hashtag is #WhowillformGovt, and the tweets posted are very interactive in nature.
However, the channel does not retweet what others are saying about their shows. Neither the reader’s inputs nor live tweets get retweeted. Social Media is a two way channel and letting the world know what your fans think of you is an integral part of being on social media.
Similarly, the channel could also take up questions on Twitter. Amidst a slew of ignorant news channels that shut themselves to the audience, one reply from Times Now was spotted in the wild. The question is, that if this could be done once, why can’t the same responsiveness continue to some extent?
Times Now on Pinterest
Similar to what is happening with other channels on Pinterest, Times Now does not have a defined strategy set for the visual social media platform, but it must be noted that they have the highest number of boards.
However, periods of inactivity can go on for as long as 4 weeks, which again defeats the aim of being ‘present’ on a social media platform.
Taking an existing Budget 2013 board into example, the channel has pinned various ‘graphics’ that they have come across through Google search. This could have been a brilliant idea for a board with graphs, infographics and comparisons with previous year budgets. Either the news channel is being simply lazy or they are not thinking of the obvious. Again, Pinterest is not meant for asking questions in your photo captions. Here your pin should be disseminating information and not looking for it.
Comparison with Competitor
CNN IBN is a close competitor of Times Now. Besides sharing news, the brand also engages with the audience by posing questions for discussions and through polls. The use of images has been executed rather well by the channel and they should be applauded for it. On an average, one update is made almost every one or two hours to maintain consistency as well as not to clog the subscriber’s news feed.
However Times Now leads the engagement by about 10.5%, in spite of the fact that IBN has more fans than Times Now.
Another interesting strategy from the channel’s side has been to comment on articles on the website’s Facebook plugin, thereby sharing links on their own timeline. This maintains a discussion thread on both the places, and has proven to be an extremely smart strategy.
On Pinterest too, CNN IBN’s channel is pretty active and has a variety of content. CNN-IBN or rather IBNlive.com’s Pinterest strategy is rather diverse with different boards for Sports, Entertainment, Tech, Politics and National news. 3-4 pins are made on the average daily which happens to be a decent number for this sector.
Overall, Times Now is on track with its social media activities and needs to only start interacting with its fans. It can launch a powerful campaign towards becoming a leader on social media in the news channels segment.
Times Now has a fairly popular News Anchor in Arnab and it’s no surprise that they have a good social buzz. They do the basics right just as a news channel should. Some recommendations would be on the lines of being more realtime and leveraging the social presence with its lead anchors too participating in social media.
Another aspect that Times Now can focus on is creating awareness for a social cause social media. It can easily be one of the first news channels that uses social causes to drive awareness and participation and advance community engagement.
Expert View by Rajiv Dingra Founder & CEO of WATConsult – An Award Winning Social Media Agency.
Analytics support courtesy: Simplify360