Facebook is making it increasingly easier for newspapers to use the social media network, and NPR has been no exception in reaping in the benefits. Andy Carvin, the senior strategist of NPR's Social Media Desk was recently interviewed by Poynter on how Facebook has ameliorated the relationship between NPR and its readers.
NPR posts about 8-10 links on Facebook per day. These links act as teasers, hoping to allure readers to continue onto the NPR site for the full article. Carvin stated that last month there were about 2.5 million views on NPR.org that were referred from Facebook, which comprises of 7% of the total traffic. Facebook is the second largest source of referral traffic, with Google being the first. As Facebook is already a big name, NPR has not needed to promote its social media page and already has over one million Facebook fans. However, there is a "NPR Gifts" sections on the Facebook page where users can publish different NPR images (a NPR hat, bag, shirt, mug etc.) onto their own homepage to promote the NPR Facebook page.
Carvin stated that Facebook is not a passive method for users to "like" content from NPR, but rather fans of the Facebook site are engaged to a higher degree than what is possible on NPR.org. The NPR Facebook page receives more comments than NPR.org as the former encourages more interaction than mere consumption. NPR.org is moderated more closely by the company, however the Facebook site is viewed as belonging more to the readers than NPR. "From our perspective, Facebook is their community, not ours -- we're guests there, rather than the other way around" Carvin noted.
NPR has leverage the Facebook page as method to find sources for its content. On the discussion board, NPR can request that readers participate in different surveys or share their stories. Carvin exclaimed he received over 700 hundred comments when he asked people in the Facebook community if they had ever been overcharged by a funeral home. He also referred to how NPR used Facebook as a sourcing tool during the earthquake in Haiti and was able to supply enough news material for several days.
Facebook also makes it easy to learn what is the demographic is for newspapers' Facebook followers. For NPR, its fan base is consists mostly of women, generation X and generation Y. This knowledge allows NPR to post links that will spark the readers interest.
Facebook has truly broken down a wall between NPR and its readers, allowing for a fuller social engagement that is mutually beneficial.