Increasingly, Americans are abandoning television and newspapers to get their news from the internet. Surprisingly, however, many of those abandoning traditional media aren’t transitioning to news sites like the Drudge Report, Huffington Post, or CNN.com. Instead, large percentages are now “getting their news” from social media sites, according to a new study from the Pew Research Journalism Project.
Americans are seeking news from sources they trust: social media networks. Facebook is the largest social networking site; users include 64 percent of the adults in the United States. The Pew study shows that half of these adults are using Facebook as a primary news source. That would mean that 32% of the adults in the U.S. are relying on Facebook as a news source.
In terms of usage, YouTube is the second-largest site, used by 51 percent of adults in the U.S., although only 20 percent of the users (about 10 percent of America’s adults) consider YouTube a news source.
Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn are also used as news sources, but by much smaller numbers of users. Of particular note for law firms and “high-end” retailers is the demographic group receiving its news via social media. It trends towards the highly-educated, high-income, 30-to-64-year olds, precisely the demographic that interests law firms, accounting firms, healthcare businesses, and high tech electronics retailers.
The recent Pew study, then, is good news for bloggers and others who make social media a marketing priority. Blogs move, to a great extent, through social networks. Blogs posts are shared by the readers who have the strongest interest in the post’s topic. Articles and newsletters do not get the traction that blog posts when it comes to sharing; blog posts are precise, timely, and topical, unlike “permanent” website content.
The takeaway: You need to be blogging. Blogs grow influence. A blogger sharing insights, commentary, and opinion establishes a name as a trusted, reliable voice. That influence grows as your content is shared over Facebook and other networks. If you don’t feel confident as a writer, or if you’re as busy as most professionals and business owners, consider hiring a free-lance blog writer or a social media marketing company to provide the timely, interesting blog posts you need.