WASHINGTON- With social networks, tablets and cell phone use becoming more and more popular, newspapers are scrambling to produce apps that appeal to consumers preferred ways of reading the news.
On March 31 The New York Times held a seminar at Howard University entitled “Managing Social Media in The Digital World.” The seminar was led by Tiiu McGuire, a Product Marketing Manager at The New York Times, and Gabrielle Smith, a Sales Development Manager at the publication.
McGuire’s job is to keep up with new products such as the iPhone, iPad, Android and other tablets, and to figure out how to make and market New York Times apps for each product.
Tablets such as the iPad and Kindle garnered a lot of attention after McGuire informed the audience that by 2013, its estimated that one in three people will own one. Making a fully functional and easily navigated application for the iPad was important to the Times staff, as it is one of the few products that users report 100 percent satisfaction, said McGuire. The New York Times and Apple have formed a special relationship; when Apple first unveiled the iPad, they asked The Times to stand with them and release their app the same day.
Although fine-tuning apps for tablets is important to The Times, improving products for cell phones is just as vital. “In five years users will connect to the internet more through cell phones than they will using desktop PC’s,” McGuire said. Google has also released statistics saying that they receive more website visits on cell phones then they do on computers, McGuire said.
While McGuire focuses on marketing apps, Smith focuses on driving advertising revenue. Using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as a platform to share links that lead to the stories on their website was a main topic.
More than 1.2 million people “like” The New York Times on Facebook, and they have more than three million followers on Twitter. A New York Times article is tweeted or retweeted every four seconds.
With Facebook being the second most popular brand on the web, only after Google, The New York Times devotes a great deal of time updating their page with the latest news.
“Social and mobile go hand in hand,” Smith said.