The growing importance of consuming and sharing news on social media

14 June 2012

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TekGroup recently released its third annual Social Media News Survey.? Like previous years, this study serves to outline the growing importance of consuming and sharing news on social media.? Organizations, both big and small, are using social media to engage with their audiences and provide another channel for users to access rapidly updated news information.? The survey looks to better understand who is using social media to get the latest news and how current news organizations are catering to those audiences.

While the survey is geared towards comparing respondent?s use and opinions on social media versus traditional news reporting sources like television and print media, it is very useful information for anyone using social media to report news.? Particularly for corporations, social media offers an excellent opportunity to expand their reach and offer comprehensive corporate news reporting to both already loyal followers and to new audiences looking to get a better understanding of the company.

The 2012 Social Media News Report is an excellent and informative study.? Below we are going to outline four sections of the survey that we found most interesting and fundamentally important to the worlds of IR and corporate reporting in general.? We highly recommend that you check out the whole report, which can be found here: http://tekgroup.com/social-media-news-survey/.

Habits of the social media news consumer

The first section of the study looks at the habits of a social media user.? This is a great opportunity to find out who the regular users of these channels are and what they are looking for from the content posted on these channels.? The majority of the respondents surveyed identified as ‘social media savvy’ and were immersed in communication through social media. ?Specifically:

  • More than 65% had been using social media for at least 3 years.
  • Among the different channels, the two that were clearly the most popular were Facebook and Twitter with 85% having 50+ Facebook friends and 50+ Twitter followers.
  • Blogs are an important social tool with this group as well.? 77% of respondents follow at least one blog.
  • Most important for corporate communicators is the fact that 70% of this group indicated that they visit corporate websites and newsrooms.

After looking at who is using social media, the study then looks at how the consumers are using social media tools for news.

Using Social Media Tools for News

An exciting finding in the survey is that 75% of the respondents are visiting a corporate website for further investigation after they hear or see a story about the company through traditional media.? This is a great example of how both types of media can work together.? Access to the Internet gives people the opportunity to investigate things further.? From what we have learned earlier about the respondents from the study, they are a savvy group that are looking to find the information they are looking for on their own terms.? This shows that companies need to focus on providing multiple channels for users to look up news.? It is a great opportunity for a company to ensure that the information is coming from the voice of the company.? If a company is not prepared then users will be forced to seek outside sources for the information they are looking for.

The next metric reviewed is what these users opinions on social media as a news gathering resource is.

Social Media Attitudes

TekGroup looks at 4 distinct areas of online social reporting to see how online users compared them to traditional forms of news reporting:

1.?Timeliness

76% respondents felt that social media was a much faster channel when it comes to reporting than more traditional methods.

2. Accuracy

As for as accuracy goes, users are more split.? 49.6% of respondents felt that social media reporting was as accurate as traditional news sources.

3. Reliability

More than half of the surveyed said that news from social media was just as reliable as the news you would find through traditional channels.

4. Importance

92% felt that is was just as important to search through social media for news on corporations, as it was to go through traditional channels.

These are very exciting findings for content creators using social media.? Users of social media feel that the channels are a great place to get the news they are looking for.? With the majority feeling that social channels are timely, accurate, reliable and feature important news, this is a crowd that is keen to ue these various platforms for news gathering.? It presents a great opportunity for corporations to interact with these users and tell their story directly, rather than having to go through traditional media.

After going through both the users habits and their attitudes in regard to social media, the study then takes an in-depth look at how social media is used as a news gathering resource.

Using Social as a News Source

This may be the most important part of the puzzle for corporate newsmakers because it gives them a look into what social media users are looking for in the online news content.

It should come as no surprise that 95% of the survey respondents begin their search for news by using search engines such as Google.? This reinforces the fact that along with optimizing social media, a strong focus also needs to be placed on search engine optimization.

67% of the respondents reported using social media tools for following and monitoring news information.? This shows that social media for many is an important tool in gathering information.? 58% also stated that they use social media as a channel to repurpose and share content with others.? This is a great key insight.? In order to get this group interested in your news, it needs to be something that they can share.? Providing shareable content also dramatically increases the reach of the company who will now be reaching people who never actively searched out the news in the first place.

While these sections do provide a great look into how news reporting through social media is growing, we would suggest checking out the whole study to get a truly comprehensive look.? For the 3rd year in a row, TekGroup has put together a great report.? For any company that is looking to work in social media or already is, check out this report for a great look into who this growing audience is and how to most effectively reach them.

 

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Steve Momorella

8 years ago

Thanks so much for the kind words about our research on social media.

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