When thinking about digital marketing, social media channels cannot be overlooked and while we put a great deal of focus on paid acquisition strategies, it’s important to understand how people use social media and how it has been changing over time.

Early intentions by brands and businesses on social media was fueled by the idea of building a “relationship” with customers and potential customers using social.  While that can certainly still be the case for some brands, for most, it has become increasingly more difficult to foster that organic relationship.  Reduced organic reach of social content and more competition for the users attention has made it so only those brands and businesses strongly committed to content creation can win that battle.

As the ability for a brand to build an organic relationship got harder, Social Channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and now Instagram have launched several ad products to help businesses reach their intended market.  But of course, this a a paid approach.

So while the social channels themselves are changing, new reports have come out that also suggest that the way people, especially Millennials, are using social media is also changing.

sd-pew-journalismSocial Media Examiner has cited a few studies in their report that may suggest that social media is not just for social anymore, it’s also for media.  More specifically, news and information.

Let’s begin with some interesting statistics.  In a recent (2015) study from Pew Research, 2,000 study participants revealed that a majority (63%) use Twitter and Facebook as a primary source for national news, political news and other broad topic information.  Carrying this trend out further, we know that 71% of internet users have Facebook and 70% visit it at least once a day.  That is a large audience using social to get their news and information.

When it comes to up to the minute or breaking news, Twitter wins in this category with 59% reporting that Twitter is the “go-to” channel for breaking or “as it’s happening” news and information.

For Millennials, Facebook is the overall go-to source for general news.  57% of Millennials say they check Facebook once a day to get up to date on news.

So yes, social media is still a place to see what’s going on with friends and being social, but it’s also filling a space as a media outlet.  So, for brands and businesses striving to gain a share of the voice on social media, perhaps understanding how people are using social media can better inform a strategy for achieving that goal.  As people spend more time logged into social channels. opportunity is increased to connect with this audience.

It was a popular notion in the early days of paid strategies on social that people did not want to be marketed to while they were updating their personal information or reading and engaging in social posts about their friends or family.  But as people are using social channels for a wider variety of content, this sentiment could be considered outdated.




The LTR Digital Sherpa