Struggles of social media…

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation on social media given by the editor of a paper I’ve been a fan of since high school.  Lynzee Glass, the editor of Ozarks Farm and Neighbor newspaper (OFN), gave a talk on how social media doesn’t come easy for the publication.

OFN is a well known newspaper in my area.  It is a 3-week livestock publication that covers southwest Missouri, east Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.  According to Lynzee, the average reader is a male from age 35-64.  This, she said, has been one of the papers biggest struggles when it comes to social media.  OFN has a Facebook page, as well as a Twitter; however, the major demographic of readers is not very technologically dependent.  The paper’s website boasts a large 58,000 readers.  The Facebook page? Only about 1400 likes.

Since the majority of their reader base does not seem to be dependent on the latest Facebook posts and status updates, OFN has made the goal of their social media accounts to drive new potential readers and current readers to the website.  A lot of OFN’s support comes from advertisers on their webpage.  The increase in traffic is an appealing attribute for potential advertisers.  Also, they use the Facebook page to engage the audience into reading some of their stories.  On the OFN Facebook, they will post parts of their latest feature stories as well as current events.  Here’s the kicker, in order to get the FULL story, you have to visit the website OR pick up a print copy.  Seeing as the paper is only published every three weeks, the “breaking news” may not be so “breaking” by the time the paper is published.  The point was made that OFN’s Facebook (or twitter or website) is not a substitute for the paper; merely a supplement.

We live in a world where it is expected for every company to utilize social media.  OFN is a prime candidate to show that social media may not be the best route for every business.  Slowly they are building their social media fan-base but can they justify the time and energy spent in maintaining the social media accounts based on that slow growth? So far it seems to be working for them.  And as one of their fans on Facebook, I sure hope they can!


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