10 Social Media Engagement Tips from the Financial Times

The Financial Times is one of the world’s biggest business news and information companies, with over 600 journalists in 50 countries bringing in up-to-date business coverage throughout the day. Their social media doesn’t fall flat either. They have nearly 700,000 Facebook likes, 1.4 million followers on Twitter and they were the first UK-based news company to pass the 1 million followers milestone on Google+.

Sarah Laitner is the editor at Financial Times and we will go through her 10 tips for ways to generate engagement on social media platforms.


1. Use the regionalisation feature on Facebook to engage with particular parts of the world – you can receive some striking results like FT has by focusing on particular groups of people or areas that are currently in the news for your business

2. Run Facebook Q&As – Laitner explains they get their readers to participate in live Q&As. Readers’ questions are given to the reporters to answer. She explains it “puts readers in direct contact with often quite senior journalists”, which in turn makes the readers feel involved and valued.

3. Post Infographics – “Picking an ‘FT chart of the day’ for use across several sites is a simple but effective way of reaching people on social media, as they respond well to graphics and pictures,” Laitner said.

4. Check its responsive for mobile phones – with more traffic on mobile devices, it’s really important that posts that appear online also look great on mobile phones. According to the Office for National Statistics (1), “access to the internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2012, from 24% to 51%”. This is a massive increase and it’s still rising, so it’s really important that posts are readable on smartphones.


5. Consider creating two Twitter accounts – @financialtimes has almost 1.4 million followers and @ft has nearly 900,000 followers. Their former Twitter account streams automatic posts about their headlines and the latter are tweets from Laitner and her colleagues. This gives readers a choice between following either headlines or interesting posts from the editors or both. But what’s important here, is it gives readers the choice.

6. Use Twitter hashtags – by creating your own hashtags, users associate that particular hashtag to your business, therefore generating people to frequently use the same one, encouraging trending stories.

7. Use Twitter for feature posts – columnist Simon Kuper created the FT Weekend feature which receives about a quarter of its traffic from social media.


8. Create LinkedIn groups – the Financial Times have created many groups on LinkedIn, posting stories and running polls. Their most popular group is the Readers Group, which has over 11,000 members to date. “It’s a good way of reaching out to people who may not be familiar with us from our website but might encounter us on LinkedIn” says Laitner. This is a great way to bring new readers through to your website.


9. Post stories, photographs and charts to Google+ – “Comments and charts and things to do with numbers, whether facts or figures or a blog post on a statistical quirk” do really well, Laitner said. They produce a ‘chart of the day’ and this generates hundreds of +1s and shares.


10. Launch a Tumblr account – FT created their Tumblr account in line with their 125th birthday. Their content showcases a wide range of media from past and present including “illustrations by our cartoonists, to magazine covers, to our videos, to our chart of the day” explains Laitner.

These top 10 tips are a brilliant guide on how you can engage with your consumers. These tips aren’t just for big companies like the Financial Times, these can work just as well for smaller businesses and it gives you good scope to bring in new clients.

More can be read here at Journalism.co.uk

(1) Office for National Statistics

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