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How BuzzFeed’s Scrappy and Unconventional Thinking Built Their Global Social Presence

Marketing

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This event took place at Social Media Week in New York. You can get the SMW Insider Digital Subscription to access the full video of this event and 60+ other #SMWNYC sessions.

Over the past decade, BuzzFeed has been able to successfully experience tremendous growth in social presence. Through strategic utilization of various social platforms, BuzzFeed was able to emerge as one of the largest social networks in media.

Rachel Christensen, Managing Social Media Editor of BuzzFeed, mentions “for a long time, we thought we’d direct our Tumblr audience to BuzzFeed. At some point we realized that no matter how much our Tumblr audience grew, they weren’t clicking on those links and going back to BuzzFeed. We decided to embrace the fact that people were engaging with our content on Tumblr and adapted our content specifically for them.”

Another learning point for BuzzFeed strategists include when they attempted to have video content as the primary focus of their website.

Christensen mentions “we immediately saw that people weren’t necessarily coming to BuzzFeed.com to look at videos. Those same videos were having huge success on Youtube, and later on, Facebook video.”

This allowed BuzzFeed to realize that they had the ability to make successful videos that people loved and engaged with– but on a different platform.

Christensen states “Realizing that was an important mental shift. Not everything we do as BuzzFeed have to be for Buzzfeed.com the website.”

Since then, BuzzFeed has learned to adapt to various social media platforms such as Youtube, SnapChat, Tumblr, Twitter, and etc. Summer Anne Burton, Editorial Director of BuzzFeed, states “when they [the audience] think of BuzzFeed, they think of whatever platform they love and are using. The strongest thing that we do as a team is learn about the audience and the platform that they’re on.”

Rachel Christensen adds “we can be all of these different things to different people who are into different apps or platforms because we’re able to embrace those platforms very natively.”

Although BuzzFeed has multiple social media channels, Rachel Christensen expresses that they tend to take their original ideas and adapt them across as many different platforms as they can in order to extend their reach and get the most out of their content.

Instead of treating each app or channel differently, they strategize so that the content is able to adapt and attract attention across various platforms.

As Rachel Christensen puts it, “the best content does well on every platform. You can and should adapt in technical ways. When it comes to the heart of the content and what it is, people like what they like. You can do ten times more if you adapt across platforms.”

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