Al Jazeera America is an American news channel reporting unbiased, fact-based and in-depth journalism that gets you closer to the people at the heart of the news. In less than one year, our Facebook page has become a prime news destination and a recognizable influencer with a loyal and engaged fan base. Al Jazeera America’s Facebook page, launched in April 2013, has become a key destination for users seeking up-to-date news. In just five months, its fan base has grown over 340%. The Facebook page features the same high quality of journalism as our audience has come to expect from us on air and on AlJazeera.com. This focus on facts over opinion has helped us stand out from our competitors and become a leader in the news space in a very short time. The news is truly the star here!
To introduce the Al Jazeera America brand to US news consumers, we provided early fans an unprecedented look behind-the-scenes as we built the channel from the ground up. Photos, hiring announcements and an in-depth series of blogs profiling our diverse set of employees all helped generate excitement for our August 20, 2013 launch.
During this time, we hosted virtual pitch meetings with the teams behind two of our shows to give fans a preview of the content we were working on and to encourage our audience to comment and share their opinions. By the time Al Jazeera America formally launched, we had already grown our Facebook community to over 66,000 followers.
Our fan base has a broad set of interests and we work hard to post stories that relate to them all. A few of our top performing posts include topics ranging from local politics (e.g. Socialist wins seat on Seattle city council) to larger, national issues (e.g. #DearPOTUS - Student loans). Additionally, we connect and share updates with our various shows to keep our audience informed about what is happening on-air as well as online.
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our audience and to reach new viewers. In January 2014, leading up to the State of the Union address, we launched a campaign called #DearPOTUS where we encouraged users to take a picture of themselves with a sign addressed to #DearPOTUS. Al Jazeera America posted several pictures on Facebook featuring guests from our flagship show, America Tonight. They were holding up signs that began “Dear Mr. President, I want…” followed by the number one issue they wanted the president to take on. We then invited our followers to submit their own photos on Facebook and other social outlets with the hashtag #DearPOTUS. We also reached out to diverse activist groups to help get the word out.
The pictures and comments that followed covered a wide range of issues, providing a powerful insight into what our audience genuinely cares about. During the six days that the campaign ran, from January 22nd through the 28th, we generated 11,719 likes, 3,441 shares and 1,820 Facebook comments. Additionally, Al Jazeera America’s 22 #DearPOTUS-specific posts garnered thousands of shares and comments and more than 11,700 likes.
With an average engagement rate of 18%, we far surpass many of our competitors in the news category, with other top tier outlets’ pages seeing engagement rates in the range of 2-6%.
Anna Pakman, Digital Marketing Director
Caitlin Pereiras, Social Media Marketing Coordinator
Jared Keller, Social Media Editor
Abby Rogers, Social Media Producer
Hashem Said, Social Media Producer
Dominica Lim, Community Manager
Bethany Frank, Community Moderator
Azmat Khan, Senior Digital Producer, America Tonight
Timothy Bella, Digital Producer, America Tonight
Claire Gordon, Associate Digital Producer, America Tonight
Dave Gustafson, Associate Digital Producer, America Tonight