We often hear about how more and more people are reaching for a mouse instead of a print newspaper. They get their news from the Internet, including social media. According to a Pew Research Center study, 47% of U.S. Facebook users or 30% of the adult population reads news on Facebook. With 1.28 BILLION active monthly users on Facebook alone, the appeal of getting coverage on a social media outlet is present and growing with public relations professionals.
How does a story get on social media? Most publications have social media accounts, primarily on Facebook and Twitter, and journalists post links to their online stories. Users on a social media outlet then have the ability to share or retweet the story to show their own friends or followers.
Individuals also have the ability to post or tweet story links they comment on or enjoy reading. To satisfy this need, many websites now have “share” buttons with their stories that will allow ease in sharing the story on a variety of social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr or Pinterest.
Reaching social media audiences—in addition to the traditional news outlets—can result in tremendous impressions and additional coverage. We can take a closer look at the power of social media influence through one of our clients. The company is a leader in memory care.
They design, build, own and manage 36 memory care communities throughout the United States. We have had success in getting the word out about new and existing memory care communities on the local and national level, but recent social media coverage took the numbers to a whole new level.
One of the stories that was popular on Twitter was the announcement of a memory care center which was celebrating its groundbreaking in Arlington Heights in Chicago. The story ran in a variety of national and local publications and was also broadcast on WBBM radio. The story was tweeted by Arlington Heights Patch, EventSetter, France Media, Inc., 815 Information and Real Estate Investor HQ. Between these five social media outlets, the story received an additional 37,230 impressions on top of the traditional coverage!
But there are more benefits to social media coverage outside of just getting more impressions. For one, it’s an opportunity to reach new audiences. Another benefit, one that social media has had a monopoly on, is that a company or brand can now become part of a two-way conversation. Anyone who wants to actively engage with your brand can.
People have the ability to tweet their favorite athletes good luck before a big game or compliment their favorite brands on a job well done. They can ask companies questions without calling customer service or they can learn about new products. And a brand that is part of a positive conversation can gain credibility, respect and brand loyalty.
As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and social media is no exception. Social media may be the new frontier, but brands and PR professionals must tread carefully. We have to treat social media with the same respect we do traditional media.
After all, it’s now an important part of the conversation.