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Technology has transformed industries big and small around the world, but few have been impacted as much as journalism.

While some people may prefer the feel of paper in their hands, the numbers don’t lie: Modern consumers turn to screens for their news.

This is a truth Brazil’s Folha de Pernambuco knows well.

In an effort to reach readers where they live online, FolhaPE updated its social media strategy.

The news organization turned to Sprout Social to make it work, and the results were immediate.

Growing with Sprout

The FolhaPE brand is comprised of more than just a printed newspaper. It also encompasses a popular website and radio station, making it a major communications conduit in Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco.

CRM and Digital Marketing Coordinator Pedro Lins de Souza is part of the team working to ensure FolhaPE serves the needs of its readers and listeners in an increasingly digital world. Brazil is expected to have more than 133 million internet users by 2021. Meanwhile, data shows 76% of internet users in Brazil also use social media. Additionally, on average, Brazilians use social media more than Latin America as a whole.

Finding the right social media management tool was essential.

“We started a bidding process among the different tools out there,” Pedro said. “This process explored 55 criteria in 10 categories, such as publishing, reporting, user experience, customer support, price and more. Sprout Social was the winner.”

Prior to using Sprout, FolhaPE’s social team was mainly focused on publishing. Tactics such as social monitoring, audience engagement and data analysis were prioritized second or not at all.

“With Sprout, we’re developing a plan that will not only drive more traffic to our website, but will also focus on branding, content marketing and lead generation,” Pedro said.

Breaking the Mold

FolhaPE’s new social strategy is expansive, from the number of networks it utilizes to how it engages with readers.

The organization wants to stay active across all major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Fortunately, Sprout Social allows FolhaPE to control all its social profiles from a single dashboard, eliminating the time-consuming task of logging in and out of different platforms.

Meanwhile, Sprout’s engagement tools make interacting with social users easy. For instance, the Smart Inbox allow users to see all messages from all connected profiles in a single location, opening up opportunities for responding to questions, resolving issues, joining conversations and more.

“Engaging with fans and followers isn’t very common in the journalism industry in Brazil,” Pedro said. “We’re willing to start breaking this barrier with Sprout.”

Driving traffic back to the FolhaPE website is the primary goal, and Sprout gives the organization the tools it needs to capture audience attention. Features such as ViralPost automatically determine the exact times to deliver content for maximum impact based on audience analysis.

“Overall, in our industry, social generates about 9% of website traffic,” Pedro said. “Right now, we’re achieving more than that and it will only increase with Sprout helping us execute our new social strategy.”

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Optimizing with Ease

Introducing a new software solution into a workplace typically comes with employee apprehension and initial complications. Not so with Sprout Social, according to Pedro. Sprout’s simple design and intuitive interface made it easy for new users to jump right in.

“Not only do we have a tool for optimizing and centralizing our efforts, but right after we launched Sprout, our team was already using functionalities and resources we’d never explored previously,” Pedro said.

Sprout’s reporting options also present FolhaPE with crucial context it can use to inform strategy.

“Sprout’s reports are playing a key role during our meetings by giving us an optimized way to analyze results and give direction for future social actions,” Pedro said.

And it sounds like the team is just getting started exploring Sprout’s automation options for saving time and enhancing customer service.

“We’re very excited about using Sprout’s chatbots for helping with questions after we launch our first app,” Pedro said. “We also have plans to automate Twitter posts via RSS feed.”

Looking to Tomorrow

For FolhaPE, the value of social media is clear.

“It’s the easiest way to get in front of an audience, to have a sense of what is happening beyond our doors, to engage with our readers and to monitor what others in our industry are doing,” Pedro said. ”In terms of engagement with readers on the social networks, and especially at this moment in our country, which is undergoing profound changes, I believe that our greatest challenge is being able to be seen as impartial when interacting with users about specific news.”

Comparing the first two weeks pre- and post-Sprout, the numbers speak for themselves. Across its primary Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, FolhaPE achieved a:

  • 10.6% increase in impressions per post
  • 15.6% increase in link clicks per post

The news organization also experienced increases in engagements per post on Facebook and Twitter of 8.39% and 3.11%, respectively. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider FolhaPE had only been using Sprout for a single month.

Technology may have revolutionized how modern society accesses information, but it hasn’t changed the basics of successful publishing: producing content people want to consume, marketing it where they spend their time and doing everything you can to help your product stand out from the competition.

Through Sprout Social, FolhaPE is able to do that and so much more. Unlike many organizations in the legacy media industry, it’s not trying to stay in the past—it’s looking to the future.

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