Facebook fans reach 3,000 … and growing

Staff report This is a story of numbers, but the numbers represent individuals in and around Richmond County who appear to want the product offered by The Pee Dee Post, Richmond County’s daily news source. 3000

On Monday, the number of fans and followers of the Post’s Facebook page hit the 3,000 mark — a milestone reached on the same day the Post celebrated its three-month anniversary of the publication of its first article on April 28, 2014.

Facebook is an incredibly effective tool in helping to spread the word about articles that cover the people, places and events important to consumers of Richmond County news, said Kevin Spradlin, owner and managing editor of The Pee Dee Post and PeeDeePost.com.

“Nearly 40 percent of the traffic to PeeDeePost.com comes from Facebook initially,” Spradlin said. “What’s really neat is seeing the number of page views on the website spike after any given story; the statistics reflect that once people find the digital newspaper at PeeDeePost.com, they start to look around to see what they might have missed since April 28.”

Spradlin said he is “truly humbled’ at the widespread support of the new endeavor, which is moving forward with the help of Sharon Nichols, advertising director; Michelle Price, advertising representative; Sharlyn Elmore, graphic artist; and columnists Howard Richardson, Jay Hudson, Jess Heid, Jennifer Ferguson and more.

“All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you,” Spradlin said. history

Facebook has helped important stories spread like wildfire. The article published Monday about a janitor at Sandhills Regional Medical Center that was arrested Sunday on charges of sexually assaulting two women who were patients in the mental ward is a perfect example, Spradlin said.

“In the first two hours of publication — and remember, you couldn’t read it anywhere before you could read it on PeeDeePost.com — the story’s PeeDeePost.com link to Facebook was shared 66 times” Spradlin said. “More than 4,800 readers saw the story just through Facebook.”

Two hours later, the number of shares had increased by 50 percent and people reached, according to Facebook’s insights data, were 11,420 and, three hours after that — seven hours of the article being published — the story generated 122 shares and had reached 17,304 people on Facebook alone.

“This doesn’t begin to include the number of readers who saw it straight from the website,” Spradlin said. “What these figures show is that our Facebook fans — who rock — are loyal and actively engaged in the information process. Social media is part of the new way to consume local news; The Pee Dee Post is simply the delivery vehicle that helps make that happen.”

So far, people seem to like what they’re reading on PeeDeePost.com. Readers can rate the Post’s Facebook page and its stories and services on a five-star scale, with 1 being a poor experience and 5 being a great experience. Through 5 p.m. Monday, readers had completed 115 public ratings with an average of 4.8 on the 5.0 scale — including 112 of them, or 97.39 percent — on a 4.0 or 5.0 level.

The Facebook data is supported by information obtained by Google Analytics. The number of unique visitors, or individual readers, to PeeDeePost.com totaled 10,232 in May, the Post’s first full month of operation. In June, that figure nearly tripled to 27,497. And in mid-July, a total of 22,582 individual readers already had visited the website — with about a half a month to go.

“The product has been very well-received in these first three months,” Spradlin said. “We can’t stay in business without the community’s support, and judging by these numbers, the Post is here to stay.”

The Pee Dee Post is a proud member of the Rockingham Downtown Corporation and the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, it is a proud supporter and corporate sponsor of the Richmond Senior High School Marching Raiders for the 2014-15 season.

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