By Gabriela García and Teresa Mioli
As traditional media outlets made the move to digital, social networks became just as important for maintaining relationships and forming new ones with readers.
In the latest informal lists from the Knight Center, we looked at the number of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers for the biggest Latin American newspapers and spoke to some of the social media managers of those publications about their strategies.
Leading with 6.8 million Twitter followers, Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo has more Twitter followers than any other newspapers ranked.
El Tiempo of Colombia was ranked second on our list of newspapers with the highest number of Twitter followers, coming in with 6.68 million.
“Regarding what motivates us to interact or create a connection with the audience, we have always been of the philosophy that it is not enough to have a very large community if it is dead, is not active and does not talk to your brand,” Laura Urrego, social media editor of El Tiempo, told the Knight Center.
They look to brand ambassadors, to get insights, ideas and other feedback from them, “to know their concerns, doubts,” as she explained.
In terms of Facebook, Argentina’s Clarín is ranked first on that social media platform with more than 6.4 million followers.
The profile of its reader on Facebook “is a person who wants to inform themselves, who wants to follow the agenda of the day, but wants to be told in a not-so-structured language. And they want to entertain themselves and want to see videos, and want to have fun and inform themselves,” Fernanda Brovia, social media manager at Clarín, told the Knight Center.
The language is more simple, she said, because the team thinks about how the content is being consumed by cell phone, “anywhere in the world, anywhere in the city.”
Brazilian newspaper O Globo ranks second for followers on both Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, it is ranked fourth on Twitter.
“We always keep an eye on what is moving social networks and seek to participate in the talks as a way to attract new followers,” Sergio Maggi, social media editor at O Globo, told the Knight Center. “We have bet heavily on videos, which in addition to bringing new followers, now we monetize both on Twitter and Facebook. We're also using Facebook Groups as a way to win more fans.”
For Instagram, the O Globo team focuses on brand enhancement. They are testing this strategy by, for example, posting cards with phrases from politicians or personalities, or carrying out campaigns and asking readers to share photos, Maggi explained.
“We have also bet heavily on the Stories, seeking to create new ways of telling the news,” he said. “Stories allow you to post URLs, but the return is still very small.”
For El Nacional of Venezuela, which has the most Instagram followers of any Latin American newspaper, social networks and its website are especially important as the newspaper was forced to stop its print publication in December 2018 due to lack of newsprint. Additionally, the newspaper’s website is also sometimes blocked.
“We try to maintain information through our social networks despite the blockages sometimes faced on the networks (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter),” Sofía Vélez, social media manager for El Nacional, told the Knight Center.
The publication has by far the most Tweets of any newspaper on the list with 6.81 million posts.
Our full informal ranking is below. It is difficult to consider every national and regional publication in Latin America, but our rankings consider the main print newspapers. These numbers were pulled on Sept. 3, 2019.