Nothing warms my day like an article filled with social media statistics. (I’m being serious.) I know that 82.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot, but I’m inclined to believe the findings of Ketchum’s recent Traditional Media vs. Online Media report as reported by Mashable.
Bottom line: more people are getting their news from network news (local and national) and local newspapers than blogs, the Internet or social media sites.
I’m not surprised. How about you?
Here’s where the good news comes in. According to Mashable:
– Blogs are now used by 24% of Internet users, up from 13% in 2006
– Social networks are now used by 26% of Internet users, up from 17% in 2006
– Videocasts are now used by 11% of Internet users, up from 6% in 2006
Also growing, RSS feeds and Podcasts.
So what do we do with these statistics?
I am a big proponent of Corporate blogs and suggest that nearly all of my clients start one. Not only do blogs allow for Corporations to control their own message, but they also have the opportunity to give a corporation a human-feel. The best Corporations understand how to disseminate their news in a fun-to-read manner.
Sometimes, a Corporation shouldn’t blog. If a Corporation doesn’t have the ability to post updates consistently, has difficulties with the approvals process, or can not answer comments in a timely manner, I do not suggest blogging.
With the rise and public acceptance of blogs as legitimate news combined with usage of RSS feeds, will we as a society ultimately prefer to receive our news from Corporations themselves?
Pretty much everyone participates in a social network on a personal level in one way or another. Even my mom listens to Pandora radio both at home and on her iPhone. (My mom is not very tech-savvy, but I love her anyway.) What should businesses do to reach the 26% of Internet users partaking?
Social networks are not one size fits all. In other words, while MySpace might work for a band, LinkedIn might be best for a company looking to focus on expanding their sales efforts. Likewise, Twitter might be best for a marketing organization. There are many social networks to choose from and they should be chosen wisely. It is better to be effective in one social network than participate poorly in many.
For a decently comprehensive list of Social Networks, and to see if your username is available, check here.
Videocasts (or podcasts with video), are on the rise. I can’t figure out a reason why I would create one for me YET, though I am starting to find lots of compelling reasons for my clients to create them. If you are speaking at workshops, trying to have a more personal connection with your followers or just want to take your podcast to the next level, this is a growing area worth considering.
It does surprise me that MORE people don’t use RSS feeds. I subscribe to everything I find interesting and by using RSS feeds, my life is simplified greatly. I never thought it would be possible that I could read all my news on one page, share from that page, and talk about the news. If this doesn’t stick as the number one way of receiving our news as a society, I REALLY wonder what will.
Traditional Public Relations:
Most importantly, we can’t yet forget about traditional public relations. We still need to build relationships with our local newspapers and broadcast journalists and pitch them with compelling, interesting news. There is no such thing as one size fits all public relations. Our industry is growing. I will continue to get all my news online, and in all likelihood, my mom will get three newspapers delivered every morning until the newspapers are cancelled.
Public Relations is about delivering the message to EVERYONE. And while Social Media is certainly rising, it’s not time to forget where we came from just yet.