At BuzzSumo we have been tracking how content is shared and discovered across social networks. The sharing of content varies across social networks according to the content topic and format, for example content with images on say kitchen design is shared far more on Pinterest than other networks. When it comes to news content we found Facebook dominates social sharing, even more specialist news content such as business news. We take a detailed look below.

Using BuzzSumo’s new content analysis tools (coming soon!) we compared the social sharing of content on the Guardian (a leading UK news site) and the New York TImes (a leading US news site). The social sharing of their content in both countries was overwhelmingly on Facebook. There was little sharing on Twitter and even less on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

If you want to explore the most shared content for either news publication simply do a BuzzSumo search for their domains.

We found that even niche content such as business related content was shared more on Facebook than LinkedIn, a business focused network. For example the two most shared New York Times posts on LinkedIn were as follows.

These posts were the most shared on LinkedIn but as you can see they were shared far more on Facebook than LinkedIn.

The dominance of Facebook was even more marked when we looked at the Mail Online, which is the biggest newspaper on Facebook according to NewsWhip.


In the case of the Mail Online the shares of stories on LinkedIn or Google Plus were so low they didn’t even register on the chart.

NewsWhip recently published a survey on the rise of news sharing on Facebook in 2014. Their detailed results found that topics such as music, the environment and health had far more engagement than topics such as technology or mainstream news. Business content had the lowest engagement on Facebook.

The NewsWhip survey found that interaction with news content on Facebook rose by 23% between January. What was particularly striking was the degree of engagement with news stories on Facebook. There were 927m Likes during the period and 434m reshares of stories and 381m comments.

Tips For Getting Your News Shared On Facebook

Headlines matter. Whilst we personally don’t like headlines that disrespect the reader, you can see how BuzzFeed and others are driving traffic through the use of headlines. Do a BuzzSumo search to see what headlines are getting traction in terms of shares.

Embrace long form content. Our recent survey found that people like to read and share long form content. You shouldn’t assume that Facebook content needs to be short.

Use emotion. New stories which have an emotional core do particularly well.

Use video. According to NewsWhip 8 of the most popular news stories on Facebook were video based.

Optimize your page. Facebook drives a lot of traffic, potentially more than search engines. So make sure your page and your content works well with images, clear headlines and introductions.

Use related content well. The danger with traffic being driven by social side-doors is that visitors increasingly do not visit home pages and browse, they dive into and out of specific content. Thus you want to group and promote related content to help keep visitors on your site.