Even Topics like the German election is worth a “Like” nowadays

The media landscape is a rough battlefield, packed with competitors campaigning for buyers, no matter what sector of media you look at. Especially newspapers always had trouble with the product they are selling: information.

How can people know if the information they are paying for is true and well investigated, especially if we talk about economic or political topics? Until now a hand full of newspapers evolved into reliable and trustworthy institutions, like ‘The Guardian’, ‘The Economist’ or the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’.

But how dare they? Risking all their credibility and reputation by participating (interactive) social media platforms, posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and sharing pictures via Instagram?

Almost all reputable newspapers can nowadays be found in social media. Of course, there are several cons using social media, especially if we look at Instagram where only photos with a short description can be published.

Nevertheless, the highly reputable German newspaper ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ (SZ) decided to use exactly this platform to also distribute the first projections of the German Bundestag elections on Sunday 24th September 2017.

Daniel Wüllner, team leader of the department for Social Media and readers’ dialogue of the ‘SZ’ and therefore specialized on Social Media and how to use it professionally, commented: Until now we mostly publish ‘softer’ news on Instagram but the current progress definitely goes towards posting news like the Bundestag elections as well”.

But isn’t it possible, people turning their back to the newspapers and important topics like economic and political news, or even elections, due to their loss of trust in the provided content?

It is always a matter of how you use the specific platform to publish your content”, according to Mr. Wüllner. The ‘SZ’ for example did not take the easy way just publishing random content on Instagram as an additional media platform. Instead, they waited longer than most other newspapers with creating their own Instagram page. When they finally released their page, they had a well-thought-out strategy of what to post and how to do so.

And there are indeed many advantages next to the risks a social media platform like Instagram provides. “Reaching another, younger target group and presenting stories and news in a totally different and new way” are just a couple of those advantages, according to Mr. Wüllner.

Furthermore, the platform is just free, easy to access and use. Even if the newspapers do not earn money by posting on Instagram, they do establish brand awareness, like Mr. Wüllner said. So even if they cannot directly link their articles to Instagram, people get to know the paper and maybe have a look at their website regardless.

In addition, many editors of prestigious newspapers enthuse about the closer contact they get with their audience. This is a major pro of social media in general, according to Dirk von Gehlen, Social Media Director of the ‘SZ’, who has been interviewed in the podcast “socialgenius” by Christoph Aufmhoff.

The readers nowadays can easily start a conversation with a journalist just by typing a comment under his or her picture on Instagram. The journalist is not that mythical creature anymore, but a rather easily accessible human of flesh and blood.

Like all other aspects of our modern and developing world, newspapers experience kind of an “evolution”.

Part of this might be the use of social media like Instagram, providing people not just with funny pictures as private users do, but with important and hopefully interesting content about the world’s economy, politics, and topics like the last German Bundestag election amongst others published in an Instastory.