I’m still amazed by the number of business people I talk to who look at Twitter, Facebook, etc. and think “This is what young people use.”
We’ve seen the numbers over the past few years, and it’s been recently confirmed by this Pew Research Center report…social media’s fastest growing group of users are the middle-aged and elderly. The growth has been dramatic…social media use by folks 50 and older has doubled in the past year, to 43 percent. Folks 65 and over grew by 100 percent. We’ve seen previous stats that show triple-digit percentage increases of Facebook and Twitter users in the past couple of years as well.
If you’re a newspaper, this needs to be your wake up call. Social networks have developed into a viable and immediate news source, and the audience you’ve been relying on to carry your print side through these hard times are discovering this new avenue of getting and sharing news far faster than your presses can run.
You need to have your news brand on social media. You need to have a solid plan to deliver and market yourself. You need to be relevant to your followers. Most importantly, you need to be engaging your followers. No more ivory towers. You need to be the community moderator. You need to speak, and you need to listen.
When finding people to handle your social media strategy, don’t think the young have the market cornered. They may use Twitter, Facebook and the others from their networking needs, but it is the Boomers who are figuring out how to connect social media to brand marketing. While the technology is new, success methodologies are tried and true. An experienced communicator or marketer can learn to network and develop an effective strategy to gain and nurture new audiences.
Yes, social media alone is not going to pay the bills. But it needs to be an integral part of your overall strategy to build and retain audience. Without audience, you have nothing to sell.
Are you still wondering why your print circulation continues to decline? Try tweeting some of your followers to find out.