A few days ago, I wrote about what content marketers could learn from the articles that were most popular on the NYTimes website in 2015. Now I'd like to turn to the most read articles on Social Media Today in 2015. I'm using the same metric as the NYTimes, which is number of combined hours spent reading each article.
What can we learn from what people read here on Social Media Today?
No. 1: The World's 21 Most Important Social Media Sites and Apps in 2015
During the 2015 calendar year, this post has been read for a total of 65,531 hours. That's nearly 7 and half years.
Why is this post so popular? It's very general interest. It pulls in a lot of organic search traffic on Google. People must want to know what the most important social media sites are. It's also very inclusive of social networking platforms that serve different populations globally. Have you heard of Twoo? You would if you were Belgian.
This post is similar to an 2012 SMT post that included 40 social media platforms. That post had a lot of comments where people added new social platforms as they were invented. (Sadly, those comments were lost when SMT was updated this year.)
No. 2: The 5 Best Free Instagram Analytics Tools
During the 2015 calendar year, this post has been read for a total of 8,879 hours. That's almost 370 days.
Why is this post so popular? It serves a very clear need because "unlike many of the other popular social media platforms out there, Instagram doesn't have its own analytics dashboard for users and brands to measure the engagement and effectiveness of their posts." This post lets people know how they can get analytics for Instagram. Like the No. 1 post, this post also has great organic search traffic.
In almost everything I read about marketing and content creation, the wisdom is to provide your audience with something useful. In this case, Pete Schauer did just that.
No. 3: 9 Things You Need to Immediately Stop Doing on Facebook
During the 2015 calendar year, this post has been read for a total of 3,379 hours. That's almost 141 days.
Why is this post so popular? I think that the headline on this one is click-bait in a way. People are worried that they are doing something wrong and they want to find out what it is. But then they stay to read the article after they click. This post has some helpful advice about Facebook etiquette, mostly for individuals, but they can be generalized to apply to brands.
This post was based on an older post with a similar title that was also very popular, which was, I think, based on this (slightly lewd) comic from The Oatmeal.
No. 4: 10 Amazing Social Media Growth Stats From 2015
During the 2015 calendar year, this post has been read for a total of 3,255 hours. That's 135 days.
Why is this post so popular? I think that the headline is also kinda click-bait. Who doesn't want to know about "amazing" growth? It also promises that the information will be served in bite-sized pieces. But again, people stayed to read the article after they clicked. Why? Because this article offers new and concrete information. That's what we want from the Internet, right? New, good info.
No. 5: Post Smart: When Not to Post on Social Media [INFOGRAPHICS]
During the 2015 calendar year, this post has been read for a total of 2,941 hours. That's almost 122 days.
Why is this post so popular? Articles about when to schedule social media posts are always popular on Social Media Today. Infographics are also very popular. This article brought the two together in a duet of awesomeness. I think the design of the infographic is especially cleaver in this case.
That's not to say that there aren't problems with telling people when to post on social media. Every time we do that on SMT, we get comments about how each business and each audience segment has different optimal timing. This is true, so I wrote a post about it.
image via shutterstock.com