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The News Chair

Using Social Media to Consume News


How often are you skimming through Facebook, Twitter or another social media platform and find a link to a news story you find interesting? How frequently do you click on it and consume that information?


Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Go to socialize, stay to learn

The short answer for most people is: a lot. The average social media user, especially young adults, is encountering news in digital communities — even when they didn’t necessarily go there looking for it.


Whether stories are shared by one of your friends or those you are following, appear as a sponsored link or turn up in a comment thread, increasingly the serendipity of social media is leading people — especially younger folks in that ultra-desirable demographic — to become news consumers.


Numbers tell the tale

Consider these recent data points:

  • The Pew Research Center says Facebook users don’t go to the site looking for news, but often find it there anyway. About 78% encounter news links while visiting Facebook for other purposes. As a result, many adults 18 to 29 are seeing news they might not otherwise get.
  • Only a quarter of adults under age 30 say they enjoy following the news a lot — compared to 42% of those ages 39-49, 49% ages 50-64 and 58% of seniors 65 and up.
  • Millennials, often referred to as “digital natives,” cite social media as their largest source for news at 68%, according to Ypulse — higher than those who receive it through news websites (62%), TV (55%), radio (44%) or newspapers (33%).
  • Facebook is working harder to push news to its members, especially on mobile devices. In February, the company launched Paper, an iPhone app that makes it easy to review your news feed.
  • Facebook also added a trending section to the right side of the news feed. According to Justin Lafferty, users can click to see posts by friends, celebrities and public profiles on the trending topics.
  • Twitter is a smaller social network than Facebook, but it has a greater percentage of active news consumers. It has built a reputation as a service for breaking news. Amy-Mae Elliott notes in Mashable how many notable news stories have broken on Twitter.


Potential for customers

Needless to say, both traditional journalism outlets and smart companies look to these findings with tremendous interest.


Reporters and editors obviously want to draw eyeballs to consume the content they produce — usually selling advertising to pay for it, and/or putting the info you want behind a paywall.


For brands, it’s a trickier game. Many social media users get turned off by a brazen sell pitch. That’s part of the reason why more and more companies are turning to brand journalism to produce information that’s useful or interesting to their audience. They are finding out what customers are talking about and producing content to engage them.


Engagement + conversation

Looking to engage your social media visitors and then turn them into customers? The Coles team has the experience and tools to help you along the path from engagement to conversion!


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