There is no denying the impact that social media has had on the news industry. Particularly, news distribution. People online, now more than ever, are reading, monitoring, and most importantly sharing news on their mobile phones, with their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and with countless other social media digital tools.
We recently surveyed “social news consumers” and asked them their habits, their interests, their uses of social media as it applies to news, and the results were recently published in the 2012 Social Media News Survey Report. This is the third year that we’ve run this survey, and the results, in our opinion, keep getting more and more interesting.
Social media news is not new. The majority of our survey sample indicated they have been using social media tools for more than five years (34.5%) with more than 63% indicating upwards of three years of social media tool experience. Nearly 33% of respondents use social media tools more than two hours per day. Think of that! 1 in 3 people that use social media tools are following, sharing, posting, or reading news and information — possibly about your company. And they have been for quite some time.
The corporate news website is still important. More than 66% of the survey sample reported sometimes (34.3%), very often (22.4%), or all the time (9.7%) making use of a corporate site or online newsroom website when following or sharing news. As people use outlets such as Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Facebook to discover news, they are inevitably going to then refer to the source — the corporate news website — for verification, additional information, and contact information. Companies of all sizes are using social media as distribution channels to their online newsrooms.
From social to corporate website. Almost 75% of survey respondents indicate they sometimes or frequently visit a corporate website after learning of a news story through social media channels. This is related to the above analysis — people are learning of news about your organization through social channels, and then they are coming to your online newsroom or corporate newscenter. This distribution channel has been proven and your organization can take advantage of sending out tweets and posting onto Facebook links back to your news, thus building up your own distinct, proprietary online news distribution network.
You heard it first. Timeliness of social media channels is an undeniable advantage over traditional media. 75% indicated that news gathered through social media channels was either slightly (36.1%) or much more (38.3%) timely than traditional news outlets. This is obvious and with the increase in traditional news channels offering social content such as CNN iReporters, there is no doubt a huge blend in this area. If your organization can respond to activities happening in your industry in social media channels, you may be able to get a competitive edge and increase your coverage, your leadership position, and your exposure on the issue. Ensuring that your news is timely is of utmost importance.
Facebook and Twitter are distribution kings. Despite the recent Facebook IPO setback, there is no doubt that both of these social media channels are excellent vehicles for distributing news content, engaging with interested customers, informing investors and analysts of financial information, and several companies have taken advantage of these features. Almost 90% cite the use of Facebook and 70% the use of Twitter as primary sources of news and information when following, sharing or posting content. This is more than twice that of the Wall Street Journal and significantly more than CNN, in our survey.
In conclusion, one survey doesn’t set the pace for an entire industry, nor should it. However, there is no doubt that social media is having an impact on the news distribution industry. Social media has become a powerful, effective, and cost-efficient news distribution network for organizations of all sizes.
To download the entire 2012 Social Media News Survey, please link to http://bit.ly/smns2012