April 8, 2011 1 Comment
A sign of the Times (grin), the venerable NY Times recently eliminated its Social Media Editor position, arguing that social media needs to be a shared responsibility rather than a siloed occupation. Initially pushed to “promote content, [...] build communities and attract new audiences” social media are now also used to “publish real-time news and updates for breaking stories and live events”.
A point of view shared by The Guardian’ Meg Pickard, who goes further into social to determine how “journalists can collaborate with readers to better understand, explore or reflect subjects or experiences”. Rather than settling for the traditional model in which journalists work on a story before its publication and readers consumer it after, with no real exchange between the two, the news media is trying to understand the value of an authentic relationship with a community.
Facebook, Linkedin & Twitter: 3 visions of social PR
The social media majors have not been blind to this evolution and have in recent week pushed forward many features that will help the trend forward.Facebook has shown the greatest recent activity in this domain, introducing a new Journalists on Facebook page containing Get started and Best Practise tabs. The page, on which the About .. description reads:
Reach your readers directly on Facebook, an audience of more than 500 million people around the world.
has attracted 26000 fans in just 3 days. Although wall posts are few and far between, the Facebook & Social Journalism article explains the benefits of social widgets such as the LIKE and RECOMMEND buttons for media organisations:
Since we first launched these initiatives at the beginning of 2010, the average media organization has seen a greater than 300% increase in referral traffic from Facebook.
However glamorous sounding, Facebook is only doing its best to catch up with Twitter in popularity among journalists. As Andy Carvin, Senior Strategist at NPR and noted for his coverage of the Egyptian crisis on Twitter, puts it, most journalists are on Facebook for purely personal reasons and have a lot of catching up to do before they use it professionally.
There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy
In January 2009, for instance, all media coverage of the news breaking crash landing of a US Airways Airbus in the Hudson river started on Twitter with a picture posted by one Janis Krum who happened to be riding a ferry on site.
But Twitter appear to be doing some catching up of their own by developing profile pages for business accounts similar Facebook Fan pages. According to other sources, Twitter may even drop its 140 character limit in some circumstances! Stay tuned.As for Linkedin, it appears that in a mad scramble to monetize its user base as quickly as possible prior to its IPO, the pro-oriented network is “borrowing” features left, right and center: after allowing updates to be posted and other members to be followed, some time ago, Linkedin is now rolling out social sharing buttons that:
“enable users to share your website with Linkedin’s professional audience, and drive back traffic to your site” or “enable users to recommend your products and services to …”
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever used Facebook, it should. According to Mathew Ingram of GigaOm, there is so little overlap between the two networks that there might be room for both sets of sharing features: “Facebook still seems to be a social playground for many users — a place they post photos and play games and share links to funny videos — while LinkedIn is like the office”.
But more importantly, Linkedin recently started the Linkedin Today page, a personal news site that brings you industry news and articles algorithmically selected from the top releases, tweets and articles posted by the 90 million members, to suit your interests (based on your connections and industry). Below the articles are a list of selected indurstries you can follow. This implies that by posting your company news and expertise to your Linkedin account, you can have it displayed in front of many other members of your industry without having to share a group or be directly connected.
4 ways social sharing will boost your PR
So, while the giants are engaged in this mutual catch-up ballet in search of profitability, how can organisations benefit? There are four easy catches:
- As journalists are less responsive to press release distribution and pitches, social sharing gives companies an alternate way of connecting and increasing their coverage.
- Links in articles written about the company increase its website’s Google ranking and visibility.
- Social search has higher credibility that traditional search because its results are based on the activity and preferences of the user’s network. Social sharing is a great way of being found and read.
- A huge, and rising, proportion of mobile Internet access is dedicated to social media. Social sharing is an easy way of reaching your audience on their mobile devices without redesigning your website.
So by sharing news on these three networks, companies have an unprecedented opportunity to reach far more consumers, journalists and other members of their industry, to increase website traffic and leads and to spread their side of the story in reputation management activities.