CNN’s Straight News Approach Makes It Tops on Twitter

This post is part of the Twitter for Brands Series, which features winning strategies from the top brand pages on Twitter and provides tips on how to emulate their successes.

Twitter is where people go for news. CNN, the leading news source on the site, has that market cornered.

The most well known handles, @cnnbrk and @CNN, boast 7.9 and 4.9 million users, respectively. The breaking news account is the top media outlet on Twitter in terms of followers. @CNN takes the number four spot, falling only behind the New York Times and Perez Hilton.

Check out how CNN maintains its status on the microblogging website.

Projecting an Authoritative, Editorial Voice

Many brands on Twitter try to make an emotional connection with followers, tweeting about the day to day and personally interacting with them. CNN, on the other hand, takes more strict editorial approach, says senior digital producer for the company Steve Krakauer, who runs the account during business hours.

“We really want to stick with the idea of it being an unbiased place to find news,” he says.

A recent study reported by NewsCred found that people are more likely to share news that comes from a reliable source. By establishing itself as trustworthy on TV, online, and on Twitter, the brand has seen a positive response from the public.

Tweeting About and Offering Insight on Hot Topics

On June 20, CNN tweeted a link to its story, “Can ‘true Catholics’ support same-sex marriage?”

“It was a hot button issue with an interesting take on it,” says Krakauer. “We immediately saw a lot of response to it.” So far, it’s received 127 retweets and 40 favorites.

Another topic that CNN offered a distinctive take on was “What if the rich lost 40% of their wealth?” The brand tweeted this out on June 14, with a link to an opinion column by James Carville. The tweet was highly popular; it has 250 retweets and has been favorited 64 times.

The economy and gay marriage are two issues that are sure to hit with followers. CNN determines what topics to post about, according to Krakauer, by measuring retweets and click-throughs.

“It’s one thing to follow, but it’s another to retweet, reply, and have that interaction with it,” he says.”[We’re looking at] that next level of interaction. It helps us form what we do with the account as well. We want to connect with our audience, figure out what they want, and how to better serve them. By looking at the click through rate, we are able to learn and adjust for the future.”

Complementing Posts with Videos

It’s been proven that videos are gaining traction online. Many users report they prefer to watch a video instead of reading text. CNN connects with users by providing news in visual terms.

“People are really interested in seeing the news in that way,” says Krakauer.

The handles post up a mix of live stream and pre-recorded videos. The live stream videos are connected to CNN on television, which results in cross promotion for the brand.

For example, when @cnnbrk tweeted a video about the bullied school bus monitor in Greece, New York, the live stream garnered nearly 40 retweets.

A recording of Bruce Springsteen sent out on June 18 was retweeted 116 times and favorites 36 times.

On Twitter, CNN has a competitive advantage over print media since it has the ability to live stream news. People can watch at home or work instead of reading an article. In a time when videos are the newest marketing craze, CNN is using the platform to increase engagement and gain followers.

People turn to CNN’s Twitter accounts for the latest news because they are a reliable source. They tweet out a mix of breaking news, articles about hot button issues, and videos and live streams that allow for visual thinkers to also be informed.

Both CNN and its followers benefit from its strategies on the microblog.

“Twitter is the megaphone function for all the content coming out of the [CNN] network,” says Krakauer. “We’re seeing that we can really reach out to our audience in a way that we haven’t been able to before.”

Image by Flickr

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