Continuing on with our June social media theme we have an insightful post from Courtney Nagle, Account Director at SHIFT Communications. Courtney discusses how social media has impacted how we communicate, seek news and measure it. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please e-mail me at taylor [at] mitx [dot] org.
Courtney Nagle is an Account Director at SHIFT Communications, an integrated communications agency with offices in Boston, New York City and San Francisco. Courtney is based in Boston and has 13 years of experience in public relations primarily focused on technology and enterprise/B2B. Twitter: @cnagle9397
Thirteen years ago when I first started in PR, social media was a foreign term and dial-up was the only way to connect to the Internet. I counted impressions, called reporters over the phone to confirm their address so I could send them a press kit – there were no thumb drives, no Cision and certainly no Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest… or any other social media channel for that matter.
I sent my first reporter pitch via Twitter about a year ago. Figuring out how to include everything in 140 characters or less was challenging but got me thinking about the way we, as PR practitioners, are changing how we communicate. Fast forward to today and the industry has certainly changed, for the better, and social media is at the forefront.
Mary Meeker’s annual Internet trends report was just released with some interesting findings about the current state of the industry. What the findings demonstrate to me is that the way we communicate today is certainly having an impact in the tools we use. The report notes that global mobile traffic is now 15 percent of all Internet traffic and that the sharing of images through Twitter, Vine, Facebook and Instagram is also on the rise.
Social media has definitely marked its spot in history and likely the future, impacting how we communicate, seek news and measure it.
The face-to-face conversation is changing. Meeker’s report notes that 500 million photos are shared each day and that number is likely to double year over year. It’s clear that conversations are taking place using images, comments and pins. Friends announce engagements and new babies on Facebook and share vacation pictures via Instagram. Brands engage with their user base where they spend the most time – online. The face-to-face conversation is still important; it’s only enhanced by the content shared through social media.
So much information in so little time! The amount of news that we get in a short period of time is astonishing, but increasingly important. I live in Boston and following the Marathon Bombings the city lived on social media – Twitter was everyone’s source of information – friends and colleagues reaching out to let people know they were okay, Boston Police sharing information around the lockdown and events leading up to it, local and national media trying to be first to break the latest development. We were glued to our smartphones, laptops and tablets to ensure we didn’t miss a beat. Staying up to date by the second has become the new normal.
Are we measuring it correctly? Gone are the days of counting impressions. We’re now tracking conversations and influence. Is the audience reading our tweets? Are they responding to our Facebook polls or liking the pictures we pin? One of my clients is tracking their impact by measuring the level of engagement as it relates to generating leads. By determining the ROI of a Tweet, blog post or any social share, we can be smarter about the content we create to ensure that it’s getting in front of the right audience.
So what does the future hold? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I believe that this is just the beginning for social media. More new channels will be introduced and new ways to share and measure content will come and likely go. News media and corporations will be challenged every day to figure out this new landscape and must be able to adjust quickly in order to stay relevant with their audience. The recent announcement with BuzzFeed and CNN is just the latest example of what a “new” channel/service might look like.
At the end of the day, what Ferris Bueller said still holds true: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” While social media has certainly enhanced how we communicate, I always try to take a step back and assess the day to day. It’s important and you don’t want to miss it.