SignOnSanDiego: Visits from Social Media Increased by 1000%

At the end of day one of Marketplaces 2010, we also heard from Mike Hodges, Vice President, Interactive at The San Diego Union-Tribune.  Hodges shared with us some interesting data points following a very simple web site redesign to incorporate more social media features.

Highlights:

  • He admitted that they had very limited social elements last year. On November 1st, they rolled out a new site
  • They made two key social media decisions:
    • They hired a full-time specialist
    • They integrated more social media features in the new redesign
  • What did they add (see example)
    • Social media sharing buttons above and below stories
    • “Follow us on social media” modules on every page
    • Login with Facebook/Twitter (using Disqus)
  • As a result, visits from social media sites (led by Facebook) increased by 1000%, They now generate between 1.2 and 1.5M monthly referrals and in February, visits from Facebook exceeded visits from Google. They now have 20,000 twitter followers
  • In the future, they want Facebook andTwitter to be intertwined in everything they do. They want journalists to use Facebook/Twitter as well. Finally, they’re thinking of introducing a Facebook/Twitter newsfeed on their home page.

What it means: even though SignOnSanDiego only made minor changes to their site, they got major impact on their business. I like their vision of leveraging journalists as brands within a brand, to allow them to share and have conversations with readers. I especially loved one of his quote: “the newsfeed is your friend”. If they continue in this direction, this could bring very positive results.

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