Q&A: How Financial Times Reached 1 Million Followers on Google+

Google+’s audience might not be as big as Facebook’s, but at least one publisher has found success there among readers. The Financial Times has been quietly building a following on the social network since November 2011, when the social media team started posting content from the website.

The London-based publication reports that social media is the fastest-growing source of traffic to its homepage, and is also the highest driver of new registered users. The journalists have also used social media to reach out to people, as well as to develop sources, track news, and analyze sentiment.

The Financial Times is certainly not the first publication to benefit from enhanced communication and social sharing, but it is one of the first to mention Google+ by name. This week, the publication’s brand page reached 1 million followers. An FT spokesperson was kind enough to tell us how they did it.

What did you do to attract so many followers?

From the start, we’ve listened to our followers very closely to understand what kind of features they want to see on the platform.  This means analyzing what content drives sharing, +1′s and comments.  We also make use of the highly visual nature of Google+ when deciding what to post. We are fortunate to have a rich stream of visually stunning content from our correspondents around the world to share with an interested and engaged audience.

Google+ also features prominently on FT.com articles, allowing visitors to share content on whatever social media platform they choose (including Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter).

How did you use Google+ to personalize content for specific audiences?

Across most social media platforms, the FT varies the type of posts it makes, interspersing core FT content with questions to our fans, photos from the FT, videos and insights into our work.

Over one million Google+ users have added the FT to their circles, meaning they decide what content they want to see on their page. Google+’s personalization tools are particularly strong.

Do you also have a Facebook page, and if so, how does the engagement on that network compare to the engagement on Google+? Are readers more or less inclined to hit the like button, make comments, or share?

Yes, we have an extremely active Facebook page [http://www.facebook.com/financialtimes] and continue to see strong growth there as well, both in the number of fans (up 55% to over 332,000 since April 2011) as well as social activity.

In the same way that users are more likely to “like” an item than to comment, users of Google+ are more likely to +1 than to do anything else.  This is the quickest and easiest way for a user to engage with our content.


Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Email Marketing

Email MarketingStarting January 12, learn how to create campaigns that engage subscribers, increase awareness, and drive traffic and sales! In this course, you'll learn how to create effective email campaigns to meet your company's goals and objectives, develop copywriting and design techniques, create and manage distribution lists, and more! Register now!