The State of the News Media 2012 was released this week by Pew Research Center and the findings prove a needed change in the way most companies communicate. And although you may not be in the business of generating news in the traditional sense, as a business, it’s imperative to keep tabs on the pulse of consumers’ consumption of information. The fact of the matter is, your audience’s use and dependence on smartphones, tablets and social media are worth noting when it comes to maintaining your business.
Statistics from the 2012 report:
- 4 in 10 American adults own a smartphone
- 1 in 5 American adults own a tablet
- 25 percent of American’s get their news from a mobile device
- 8 in 10 people who get their news on smartphones or tablets also get news on conventional computers
And if you’re in the market for a new car, you may just purchase one with built-in Internet, another trend noted in the 2012 report.
Social media affects your brand’s reach
According to the report, Facebook users spent an average of 423 minutes each on the site in December 2011. Contrastingly, the average time on a top 25 news site was just under 12 minutes per month. If we think about this in a broad sense, consumers are spending a heck of a lot more time on their social media networks than on traditional websites (including your company’s website). It’s equally important to note who consumers are paying attention to when they are on Facebook and Twitter–the two social media platforms that, for the moment, dominate consumer’s time online.
A whopping 70% of active Facebook users are getting their news links from family and friends. It’s the new word-of-mouth marketing and it’s something that companies must pay attention to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a news outlet, a shoe company or a candy store–you need to create news and information that is share-worthy by others in their social networks. It is not enough to blast out your message online in hopes that someone will see it direct from the source on which you posted.
Although the report concluded that social media is merely a path to news and that a very large percentage of the population reads their news directly from the news source, the fact of the matter is that the reason people know about the news in general and have an option to read further on the original news site is because they are seeing the links from their friends and family online. This is important for all companies to realize: social media is a path to information.
What are you doing to create ambassadors of your brand and information? How are you ensuring that your path is being shared online?
Public relations strategies must change
The media landscape has been changing for awhile. It’s not all about scoring an article above the fold on the front page of the newspaper anymore. If we’ve learned anything from this report and others over the years, it’s that people are constantly moving and looking for information in their back pockets, their laps and their computers. Your strategy for PR and media reach needs to be inline with where your audience is. It doesn’t matter if you’re frustrated that no one can sit down with their cup of coffee for an hour and read the newspaper anymore. Get over the notion of traditional being the only way to go and incorporate a mix of communication strategies to communicate your brand’s message. Traditional must be mixed with new. It is the only way to generate a larger reach.
Do not overlook mobile
As reported by Mark Rogowsky on Quora.com, Apple sold almost 25 million iPads worldwide in 2011 and, according to Nielsen, the adoption of smartphones has nearly doubled since 2009. My point with these stats is that if you haven’t yet thought about your own mobile marketing strategy, it’s time to start. Whether or not your message is received by consumers can even depend on the time of day. For instance, many consumers are using smartphones and tablets in the early morning hours and late evening–before and after work. During the day is when they’re most likely to view content on a traditional computer.
I get it. Sometimes it just seems like statistical information overload. Here’s my take:
If you want to expand brand reach and remain viable for the long-haul, develop a communication strategy that engages the most amount of your consumers where they live…on their smartphones, tablets and social media networks. Sprinkle in a good dose of traditional communication and PR strategies and you have a good recipe for continued growth and success.
Consumers are mobile and want their information wherever they are. It’s all about easy access. Are you in the game?