To explore the changing dynamics of how the print and digital mediums interact, Social Samosa decodes the Hindustan Times social media strategy.
A lot has changed in the way people consume news in the last few decades Hindustan Times has existed. On their part, they have stepped up the design and brought in new supplements and event properties to gauge the interest of the readers and alter products accordingly. A similar trend can be seen if you were to take a look at the Hindustan Times digital strategy — a peek into the way they are building digital assets and social media interactions.
Hindustan Times Social Media Footprint
Facebook: 5.9 M Likes
Instagram: 888 K Followers
Twitter: 7M Followers
According to SparkToro, @htTweets has 41% fake followers and gets 31.3 average likes per tweet and 5.87 retweets per tweet.
On Facebook, HT’s official page was able to garner a daily engagement rate of 0.12% over the last month with a total content appreciation rate of 580.6K. While the owner activity was 5.7K, the audience activity stood 67.1K, almost 11 times over, as per the data shared by Talkwalker.
Among the type of content appreciation, most users seem to interact with the help of likes. The number of shares, when compared to likes, was significantly lower throughout the month. The difference between the two ranged from 90K to 130K.
On Twitter, an interesting pattern can be seen in the way users interact with the publication. Tweets with links, which form a bulk of the content on the page (41.6%) are able to get 63.5K engagement. These are followed by video (50.1K engagement) which forms the smallest chunk of the content. While pictures (20.6%) get 35.8K engagement, text tweets form 35.2% of the content, garnering 17.6K engagement.
A closer look at the 160.9K audience activity shows that Android users engage with the page the most. They form 104.9K of the total audience activity. The second most engagement is via other phones (29.7K), followed by iOS phones (20.4K) and official website (3K).
Weekly Digital Shows
The national daily resorts to a number of social media originals, IPs that help them build appointment viewership and engagement.
The visual properties created by the Hindustan Times include The Big Picture, On The Record, Metro Matters, WorldView, Sports Corner, Your Weekend Dose, and Books & Authors.
The Big Picture with Prashant Jha is a weekly series that takes an in-depth look at the political scenarios in the country. With Sunetra Choudhury, On The Record puts on the hot seat, people who have public service on their daily TDL. In Metro Matters, Shivani Singh engages with relevant persons on topics that are important to the metropolitan city of Delhi.
In WorldView, Rezaul Laskar focusses discussions on topics that are integral to foreign policy and world affairs. Sports Corner is Rudraneil Sengupta’s space to dissect all that concerns the world of high energy.
Arunita Tiwari prepares the viewers for the weekend with a Bollywood news roundup in Your Weekend Dose. For Books & Authors, Manjula Narayan gets in conversation with authors to give viewers an exclusive glimpse into the thought process that gave life to the literary piece.
Here, the news giant leverages the experience of its senior staff to create content that goes beyond the reports they publish on a regular basis. Each of the shows is a series of bite-sized videos and has come into existence a few weeks ago.
HT Friday Finance is a show that national daily has created in association with Aditya Birla Capital and Aviva Life Insurance. The show, an original, features a group of friends that discuss money matters and more.
As a part of the promotional strategy, a separate mini-website has also been created. With a tab each for mutual funds and insurance, the publication has created a space for the associated brands to communicate via articles.
It is interesting how HT has been able to leverage their credibility and reach as a news publication and are creating a show under the ambit of educational content. The move highlights the possibilities that can open up for news outlets looking for alternate revenue options.
Content from news
Being a publication, Hindustan Times has access to news inventory like no other content platform. They often leverage the information to create content for online audiences. This includes very short videos that briefly explain what’s happening as well as slightly longer formats that give an in-depth look into the issues.
Sports and entertainment are two beats where the plethora of available footage is used as a means to keep audiences hooked. Social media is where these properties are pushed, in between article links and breaking news. Election coverage is another important asset, in sync with print coverage.
In addition to visual and textual content, Hindustan Times is now also venturing into audio content. Apart from making their video properties available as podcasts, they are also creating a few exclusive ones. These, too, revolve around news topics and leverage the expertise of the paper’s senior staff. These are a part of HT Smartcast.
In Crima Facie, Shiv Sunny talks about the most intriguing and relevant crime stories over the week in Delhi. For Metronome — The Music Project, Samarth Goyal covers the best of music from around the country and the world. For Aur Batao, RJ Stutee gets Bollywood celebs to laugh, share and confess over candid audio conversations. No Rating Movie Review is Monika Rawal’s space to help people understand movies better.
Rishabh Suri and Naina Arora bring to life the daily horoscopes in Your Stars Today by Dr Prem Kumar Sharma. Trend Spotting by Manish Mishra is where he captures the latest red carpet trends and gives out style tips.
In the case of audio podcasts too, the publication has leveraged the expertise of their editorial staff to create content pieces that simplify topics for their consumers.
Hindustan Times Digital Strategy
Hindustan Times has several event properties, including the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, India’s Most Stylish, and Mint Visionaries. Here, the publication leverages the on-ground content to create digital assets, documenting it in the process.
According to the brand’s Facebook Ads Library, the Leadership Summit is what they have advertised the most in the last few months. This includes throwback posts as well as exclusive pre-buzz articles and interviews.
A bulk of the content pushed out by Hindustan Times’ social media handles are news pieces that redirect users to their website. The creative mandate for the publication is with Dentsu Impact.
Amit Wadhwa, president, Dentsu Impact gives us a glimpse into shaping the brand’s identity. “In the Indian publication space, we have some very prominent players and hence the connect with the audiences is already there. What we need to figure is how can we keep evolving with times and keep our communication relevant,” he says.
The process and challenges, he says, are the same as any other brand that the agency would build in any other category. “We need to understand the connect with our audience as much as we would dor for any other category,” he explains.
Hindustan Times Digital Strategy: Conclusion
- HT’s social media strategy outlines the possibilities of engaging with the users online and drive them to engage with the product offline.
- Focus is also on supporting brand associations that the media giant brings with it — making it another channel for revenue generation.
- The advertisement aspect of the brand’s communication mix is centred around original and exclusive content.