Social stars: The local news stories which stood out on Facebook in August 2019.
With a real back to school feel in the air, Behind Local News is back from its summer break with a new feature — the Social Stars of local news.
Every month, we’ll be pulling data on the stories working on Facebook, not just for the sake of compiling a list (heck, there’s enough of those already!) but hopefully to give an insight into what people want from local publishers on Facebook.
But how do we make this fair, when you have big city titles with millions of Facebook followers and many other titles with far fewer? And how do we make it useful? Being top is great — if it’s you — but we felt it was really important that this feature told a story, and was useful.
So we’ve landed on three lists, pulling from the Facebook pages of around 130 regional newsrooms in the UK. All three lists use Crowdtangle.
For the first list, we’ve used the ‘overperforming’ feature on Crowdtangle, which ranks posts based on how much they’ve overperformed when compared to the average expected from a post on each brand’s page over the past four weeks.
Here’s what it told us:
1. The mother who murdered her two daughters for getting in the way of her sex life — WalesOnline. Engagement ranking: x722
2. Aldi in Reading are giving their leftover food to the homeless — BerkshireLive. Engagement ranking: x394
3. 17-year-old girl dies of suspected drugs overdose at Leeds Festival — Yorkshire Evening Post. Engagement ranking: x336
4. Scotland’s oldest man celebrates his 107th birthday — The Scotsman. Engagement ranking: x328
5. Urgent appeal as girl, 9, reported missing in Elgin — Press and Journal. Engagement ranking: x300
6. Police confirm the body found at Accrington Cemetery is that of Lindsay Birbeck — LancsLive. Engagement ranking: x265
7. A cracker of a back to school photo — Glasgow Evening Times. Engagement ranking: x260
8. Desperate search for 12-year-old boy who has been missing for four days. Brighton Argus. Engagement ranking: x229
9. Public told to avoid contact with water at Lochore Meadows Country Park — The Courier. Engagement ranking: x229
10. Concerns over girl, 12, who has gone missing from Southsea — Brighton Argus. Engagement ranking: x227
Our second list looks at the posts with the highest interaction rate — defined as the interactions on a post, divided by the page likes at the time of posting. This is an important metrics for any social media editor, as likelihood to appear in someone’s timeline is known to be determined, at least in part, by how likely Facebook thinks it is that your fans will engage with your posts.
This is the list most likely to get the ‘call this news’ troopers going — but we’re not picking the stories, the Facebook users are:
1. TV company looking for Britain’s loudest snorer < EdinburghLive, 6.7%
2. Harry Potter cafe to come to Ormskirk < Lancaster Guardian, 2.58%
3. Know any loud snorers? < BelfastLive, 2.23%
4. The ticket policy you need to know for Ed Sheeran’s gigs < LeedsLive, 2.2%
5. Youngsters set for Dinosaur day at Colchester Zoo < Colchester Gazette, 2.14%
6. Single in London? Naked Attraction needs you! <MyLondon, 2.13%
7. Cafe Britannia and Park Britannia to close < Norwich Evening News, 2.07%
8. ESK in Eastbourne to close < Eastbourne Herald, 2.07%
9. This massive jungle-themed crazy golf course has just opened < GlasgowLive, 2.02%
10. How to avoid being chased by wasps this summer < Oxford Mail, 1.94%
And finally, our third list: The one which looks at the most shared stories of August 2019. This looks just at the number of shares a post got, so doesn’t include likes, or other reactions. Sharing a story tells you people don’t mind it being associated with them, or pushed into the feeds of their friends.
Overall, the most shared stories of August 2019 from the Facebook pages of the regional press were:
1. Mother who murdered her two daughters because they got in the way of her sex life < WalesOnline, 41,000 shares
2. Video: “A kind gesture” < BirminghamLive, 11,000 shares
3. Video: “The last train home in Wales” < WalesOnline, 10,000 shares
4. Video: Incredible moment humpback whales are seen off the coast of Cornwall < CornwallLive, 7,000 shares
5. Michelle Pearson has died — mum of children killed in arson attack ‘joins her babies’ <Manchester Evening News, 7,000 shares
6. Aldi stores in Reading are giving leftover food to the homeless < BerkshireLive, 6,000 shares
7. You can stay overnight in the UK’s most haunted prison near Bristol < BristolLive, 5,000 shares
8. Wales become number one team in the world in rugby rankings < WalesOnline, 5,000 shares
9. Lost and found appeal from BelfastLive < 5,000 shares
10. 17-year-old girl dies of suspected drugs overdose at Leeds Festival < Yorkshire Evening Post
Tell us what you think of the lists — you can find us @behindlocalnews on Twitter!