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6 Things BuzzFeed Does Better Than Anyone Else on Social Media

The times are a-changing. Online media publishers are giving traditional TV networks a run for their money and BuzzFeed, an early underdog, is leading the charge. According to a recent study, BuzzFeed’s monthly reach amongst millennials far outsteps that of CBS, NBC, and FX.

In fact, just last year BuzzFeed announced that they are averaging 5 billion content views per month. So, how has BuzzFeed amassed this much success in just nine years? Their listicles and actually-very-good journalism are part of the reason, but BuzzFeed’s explosive growth begins and ends with their ability to market on social media. Let’s take a look at the things that BuzzFeed does better on social media than anybody else.

BuzzFeed Creates Micro-Communities

When you have a big audience like BuzzFeed does, you inherently have smaller groupings of people who share niche interests. For example, BuzzFeeders love cats, celebrities, cars, The Kardashians, etc. So, instead of pandering content to the masses and hoping it sticks with those that are interested and a few others, BuzzFeed creates social communities to foster these groups.

Catering to these micro-communities on social is just another way to enrich your audience and grow your influence. Nobody does this better than BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed Drives Monster Traffic

Here are three statistics that will literally blow your mind:

  • BuzzFeed drives over 200M monthly unique visitors to their web properties.
  • 75% of BuzzFeed’s web visits are driven by social media.
  • BuzzFeed’s social traffic is 5x its search traffic.

BuzzFeed is doubling down on where they know their audience (18-35 year olds) are — social media. Social media is their main traffic-driver, and they optimize their content for this. Check out this example:

Relevant, timely, informative, and a GIF. I’d click it! Wouldn’t you?

BuzzFeed Takes Advantage of Existing Behavior

I remember when it started on Instagram. I saw something that I thought was funny, and I couldn’t tag my friends in it…I was never going to DM it to them (let’s be real). So, I’d comment and mention their handle. This seems normal now, but back in the day, this type of behavior was just what people had to do. BuzzFeed was one of the first places I saw taking advantage of this type of behavior.

What BuzzFeed does, better than anybody, is encourage conversations. Whether they’re asking you to “tag a friend who _______” or vote for your favorite Friends character, the nature of BuzzFeed’s posts are always the same: conversational.

BuzzFeed Knows That Humor Is Social

A new study, published by the University of Southern California, says that positive emotions are more contagious than negative ones on Twitter. What’s the best way to illicit a positive emotion? Be funny! Humor is a great way to unify your audience on social, and BuzzFeed aims for a laugh 90% of the time. 


A post shared by BuzzFeed (@buzzfeed) on

Even if your brand is a little bit more stuffy, don’t be afraid to loosen up every once in a while!

BuzzFeed Really, Really, Really Knows Their Audience

BuzzFeed’s true triumph is just how well they know their audience. They do have the luxury of having a very defined age demographic that they’re shooting for, but catering to these people is not always easy. When it comes to your brand, you need to eat, think, and breathe like your audience does.


A post shared by BuzzFeed (@buzzfeed) on

I mean, they just get me.

BuzzFeed Optimizes for Mobile

In this day and age, all of your content needs to be tailored to mobile. More and more people are accessing social media through mobile devices, so we, as social marketers, need to pay more attention to tailoring content and interactions to these devices.


BuzzFeed does a great job at making sure that, no matter what network or device you are on, you have a seamless experience. Going forward, make sure that your content is mobile-friendly.

What other lessons have you learned from BuzzFeed on social? Tweet at us, and download the Simply Measured Progress Tracker below to start keeping track of the metrics and growth that matter to you.

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Jade Furubayashi

My name is Jade and I'm the Social Media Manager for Simply Measured. We can find common ground in Beyoncé and Chipotle burrito bowls.

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