Here's How A Top Swedish Tabloid is Tackling Social Media

May 6, 2015

Written by NewsWhip

We talked to Expressen’s Head of Social Media Development, Dan Edström, about approaching social media at one of Sweden’s best-known tabloids. 

Every few weeks, we talk to a media professional about their job, how they’re using social media to reach readers, and what they’re learning in the process. This time, we talked to Dan Edström, Head of Social Media Development at Expressen, one of Sweden’s largest online news sites.

1) What’s your role at Expressen? Can you give us a quick overview of a typical day for you? 

My job is to improve how we work with social media in all aspects. 
A typical day starts with trying to identify today’s viral stories and making sure we have a good picture of what’s being shared and liked and retweeted out there. Together with our social media team I keep track of what’s trending during the day through the different tools we are using. Everything is then produced, published and posted by the team.
I am also involved in developing new sites, services, platforms and it is my job to follow what’s happening in social media in general and the Facebook algorithm in particular.

2) How has Expressen been adapting its content for a digital audience, and how important is social media in reaching your readers?

One of the first things I did as part of this project was identify the subjects that were getting a lot of attention in social media that we weren’t covering. So we started writing about those things. Then we realized that we lacked a platform that would be more suitable for a lot of the material that we found while searching for those stories.
So, last summer we built that platform and launched a number of new sites based on that platform. Our viral site was launched in July and reached a million readers in its first two weeks. It is now one of Sweden’s biggest sites on mobile, and all that traffic is coming from social media. 
When we started our social media project in 2013 our mobile site had around 1.4 million weekly unique visitors. Today, we are closing in on 4 million weekly unique visitors. Behind those numbers lies increases in both direct and social traffic, so social has absolutely played a very important part in increasing our audience.

3) What social media platforms are you using and seeing success with at Expressen?

We have mainly been focusing on Facebook for the last two years and the reason is simple: It is the main source of social traffic – and the changes in the algorithm have kept us busy, so to say. At the moment are putting a lot of effort into optimizing how we post and what we post on our pages.
Besides that we have a large following on Twitter. Our biggest success on Twitter is connected to a live talk show about national politics on Expressen TV, where the hashtag of the show has been trending in Sweden almost every time it has aired.
When we launched a blog about the reality series Paradise Hotel last autumn, that blog also had accounts on Instagram and Snapchat, which resonated well with the show’s younger audience.
Expressen example
Last week we launched four more accounts on Snapchat and the beginning of that project is very promising.

4) Are there particular elements (content, posting, platforms) that you think are resonating particularly well with Swedish readers online?

We are operating in a country where like 8 out of 10 people have a smartphone, and where there is at least 3G speed mobile internet almost everywhere, so mobile is pretty much everything right now. Mobile is rapidly overtaking desktop as the main news channel and it is our biggest site since last year.
People are also watching more and more TV in their phones, and we try to meet that demand by broadcasting live TV every day. Even smaller local media houses are doing live TV on a regular basis, on a much larger extent than big international papers.
Another trend in Sweden right now is op-ed. Many publishers have launched op-ed sections with a focus on a younger audience and viral potential.

5) How are the Expressen team using Spike in their workflow?

I have been using Spike since day one of our social media project. It was the first tool I got and today it is widely used all over all different departments. We use Spike to keep track of what’s trending internationally, regionally and nationally.
We have stories every day that started with somebody finding them on Spike. Personally I love the alert e-mails. My mailbox is full of them and I keep adding more all the time. We’re also exploring what we can do with the Spike API.
Previously in this series:
Heather Bowen, Mirror Online
Shauna Rempel, Global News
Hannah Sarney, The New Zealand Herald 

What Next?

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