Facebook is a phenomenon that started on the campuses of elite universities. As it grew, from dorm to dorm, city to city, and eventually country to country, an evolution took place. The social media platform was no longer a trend but an accepted tool for communication. From the roots of university life, the original users of Facebook have since grown into young adults—working, starting families, balancing checkbooks and wading through a sea of student debt. Although their pcresence on social media remains, their use of this tool has undergone a similar transformation. The trivial topics of relationship status, upcoming weekend parties, and general banter are being replaced by links to and commentary on breaking or market moving news.
As the users of social media mature, so do the topics of interest they share with their connections. What does this mean for the media industry and today’s communication professionals? It means that social media is not just an alternative news source, but a leading resource for audiences to learn about your brand.
These musings would make for an interesting theory, but there’s no need to theorize. Recently released data show that it is already a reality. A new study, conducted by Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, paints a clear portrait of how Facebook and Twitter are being used today. When asked about the use of Facebook and Twitter as a leading news source outside the realm of friends and family, a majority of users claimed this to be accurate. Both 63% of Facebook users and Twitter users consider the social media sites as a source of news, up from 47% and 52% in 2013, respectively. One big reason for this is Facebook users are getting older, and their interests are changing.
The use of social media as a news source is not passive. Users are actively logging on and using these networks to stay connected with what’s going on in the world. Users are chasing breaking news on social media, especially Twitter (59% of users), almost twice those of Facebook (31% of users) and sharing and commenting on leading news stories. Although Facebook users are not as actively using the platform to unearth breaking news, they are more likely to post and comment on a news piece with 32% of users saying they post about politics and government while 28% claim to comment on these types of posts.
41% of US adults get their news on Facebook
For media professionals this presents an ideal opportunity to increase the visibility of business news. Knowing where people are actively looking for news is like knowing what team is going to win the Super Bowl. Repurposing news on social media channels supplies an audience with something that, according to the data, they are demanding. Approximately 42% of Facebook users and 55% of Twitter followers claim to regularly see business news on their respective social media platforms. This is a huge number of readers! For communication pros this is a highway to visibility. Having your news content seen and remembered is a big part of the process to convert potential clients or customers.
Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are now powerhouses of industry communication. As for the users of social media, they post for their followers and friends, people whose attention they want to grab and whose opinion they want to influence. They are aspirational and share the news that makes them look clever and smart. This is a complement and a testament to the growing user base of what started as an experiment in social interaction. As people mature, the uses for their tools mature. The media needs to take advantage and bring their news to where people are ready to see it.
Here are a few tips to increase the visibility and usage of your news across social channels:
- Share your news across your social channels! In order for your news to be seen, it first has to be shared. Don’t forget to share your coverage as well, not only are you making sure it is discoverable, you are helping reporters meet their own news metrics.
- Add calls to action into your content: This triggers content consumers to share the information they have already engaged with across their social channels.
- Utilize multimedia to increase shares and visibility: Both Twitter and Facebook note that the inclusion of interesting photos, gif files and videos increases the reach of content across their platform
- Consider supporting major news announcements with social advertising. Both platforms offer ways to share your news with highly targeted audiences. Ads on these channels can easily be shared out by interested viewers.
- Use Business Wire to distribute your news. Every news release distributed by Business Wire is automatically shared across Twitter to ensure quick access to breaking news.
Business Wire understands the importance of social media and recently launched features aimed to amplify your news to where people are most likely to see it. Global-Mobile-Social-Measurable is a series of tools that are offered with every English-language news release. In addition to your news release being optimized for social sharing, it is also distributed to a wide variety of websites, targeted to individual behavior via the Dlvr.it Promoted Stories Platform. Learn more about how your news can reach the world with Global-Mobile-Social-Measurable.
Guest contributor Vilan Trub is a copywriter for Business Wire focusing on printed collateral, web content, sales presentation, digital ad creative, white papers and more. He has written for media outlets such as the GlobalNewsNetwork.us, RealGM.com, Manhattan Review and AccessGroup Holdings, where he was a pivotal member of their launch. Vilan is a graduate of Queens College with a degree in History and began his career as a writer developing concepts and scripts for projects ranging from digital media to feature films culminating in a position as post-production supervisor for 50 Cent on his directorial debut Before I Self Destruct.