French news broadcaster BFMTV isn’t the biggest in terms of fanbase, yet they consistently top engagement rankings on social media. We analysed how their social media strategy differs from other broadcasters in France.
BFMTV is a privately owned news broadcaster with a strong online presence. Established in 2000, it is not exactly new on the block, neither is it an underdog – boasting 10 million daily viewers on their TV station (France’s total population is 67 million). Their coverage focuses on breaking stories with a more sensational angle than public service broadcasters France 24 or LCI.
With 2.2 million fans, BFMTV is not the biggest broadcaster on Facebook. LCI also has 2.2 million Facebook fans, and France 24 has a whopping 8.7 million.
BFMTV is, however, consistently topping the rankings of French broadcasters by engagement on social media, the majority of it coming from Facebook. In the last twelve months, their total engagement has been 2x bigger than LCI’s and 4x bigger than France 24’s.
Streaming video on Facebook has its trade-offs: it drives engagement but keeps your audience on Facebook. Plus, public service broadcasters have certain limitations regarding the amount of native content they can share on platforms like Facebook.
Live streams only make up 1-2% of all the content BFMTV, France 24, and LCI post on Facebook. However, given the engagement boost live streams get, they have brought double the engagement for these publishers – between 2-4%.
Why are BFMTV’s live streams more successful?
First, they stream more than once about an event that proves to be popular with their audience, like Johnny Hallyday’s death and the football World Cup victory.
Second, their live streams are relatively long: 3.5 – 4 hours, giving their followers plenty of opportunities to engage with their content.
Finally, their story angles evoke more emotions and therefore appeal to viewers looking for breaking news.
Consistent and Frequent Facebook Posting
How often should a publisher post on Facebook? There’s no one size fits all, which is why it’s important to experiment and measure the results.
France 24 post about once an hour every hour, while LCI post about 2-3 times an hour between 06:00 – 24:00.
BFMTV post most frequently between the three broadcasters: over 3 posts an hour on average. Their Facebook page gets most engagement between 12:00 – 22:00 on weekdays, even though they post more frequently on weekends.
With all the talk about Facebook News Feed changes, the story of BFMTV’s engagement would be incomplete without the historical context. BFMTV and LCI used to be closer together in terms of engagement back in 2016 but that changed starting from spring 2017.
All three publishers have seen a decline in their engagement during the second half of 2017, though unlike France 24 and LCI, BFMTV’s engagement has been growing this year.
The decline is consistent with our findings for other publishers in France, who saw a 21% dip in engagement between January and June 2018. However, large and mid-sized broadcasters’ engagement has grown in that same timeframe. You can find more details in our full report on the effects of Facebook News Feed changes in France.
The bottom line is BFMTV is consistently more engaging than other broadcasters on social media – before and after News Feed changes. Frequent posting on Facebook, combined with live streams that “milk” breaking news, help them to outperform other broadcasters on social media.