Tag Archives: Pew Internet

How Social Media is Driving Political Engagement — What TV News Can Learn

22 Oct


Illustration courtesy of Social Media Daily

           The social media forces that have changed and influenced television viewing habits, are now changing political engagement too.  Political communication that was once dominated by television commercials and yard signs has gone digital—and personal. 

            New research from Pew Internet reveals a significant number of Americans using social media—66%–are using social networking sites (SNS) to both follow politics and candidates and share their own political views.  

            Here are some of the top lines:

  • 38% of those who use SNS & Twitter use social media to “Like” or promote material related to politics or social issues.
  • 34% of social media users have used tools to post their own thoughts or comments on political or social issues.
  • 33% have reposted political or social issues content that originally posted by someone else.
  • 31% have encouraged others to take action on a political or social issue.

             The Pew research also indicates that the power users skew heavily young and somewhat liberal. (Figure 1)  That finding would support the explosive social media usage among viewers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. 

Figure 1 – Pew Internet

             For television programmers, especially TV newsrooms, this latest set of data points is a gift for building strategies to engage younger viewers in way that is native and natural to them.  As television entertainment producers have built social media engagement into live viewing of comedies, drama, and reality episodes, TV news operations have the same opportunity especially when it comes to live political events such as debates, forums, and rallies.

             Some of the tactical engagement methods should include:

  • Create branded discussion forums by hashtagging events for people to follow.  Example: #Fox9debates.
  • Use the hashtagged comments to drive on-air discussion and talk back with guests and experts.
  • Establish website chat rooms during major events that are moderated by newsroom talent. 
  • On-air talent should direct viewers to specific content on the web or Facebook and encourage them to share it.

             The reality of today’s connected world is that viewers are constantly screen-splitting, meaning they’re watching TV and interacting with a mobile device at the same time.  By encouraging viewers to engage with your brand on another channel only builds the brand and helps them achieve the information and entertainment gratifications that they are seeking.  Television programmers who don’t do this risk losing their viewers to someone else who will.

             Here’s a few more important facts on the Pew Internet study. (Figure 2)  The Pew research team lead by Lee Raine interviewed 2253 adults between July 16 and August 2, 2012.   They found that 60% of American adults use either SNS or Twitter.  Of the American adults who are online, 69% use SNS such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, and 16% use Twitter. 

Figure 2 – Pew Internet Survey Democraphics



More Adults Using Social Media. What it Means for Businesses.

30 Mar

Figure 1 - Adults Using Social Networking Sites

The research folks at Pew Internet have just given us more proof that the phenomena known as social media is not just a passing fad.  As Facebook has reached 483 million daily users, Pew latest data shows us that 66% of online adults now use social networking sites.   Not surprisingly women are leading the way. (Figure 1)

The latest Pew research mirrors trends I gathered in my own research of social media users in the Twin Cities.   Women tend to be power users.   Not only are they more heavily engaged in social media,  women were more likely to “friend” or “like” a business than men would.   Facebook is the channel of choice with 90% of Twin Cities respondents indicating use the site.  Pew’s new national data set from February of 2012 shows us that women are still in driver’s seat with 71% using social networking sites.

Figure 2

Pew also confirms that social media use is still in a growth phase.   Typical daily usage among adults has rocketed from 27% in April of 2009 to 48% in February of 2012. (Figure 2)

So what does this mean if you’re a business owner looking to reach out to your customers?

  • Conduct some customer research.  Are your customers using social media, and what channels?  What do they want from you—product news?  Help?
  • If women are your primary customers, you must be on Facebook.
  • Encourage customers to follow you on SNS to get exclusive content or discounts.
  • Respond to customer comments on a DAILY if not IMMEDIATE basis.

The last tip is vital.  Internet users who are accessing social media for customer service want immediate feedback.  I recently spoke with Brittney Madsen the online manager at The Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul who said that her customers are increasing turning to the store’s Facebook page to ask questions about designers, price, and inventory.   Madsen said that if she doesn’t respond within minutes, the customers will go to a competitor looking for answers.  In this store’s experience, social media has become just as important of a business tool as a phone.

The Wedding Shoppe’s experience along with Pew’s latest research shows adults are embracing social media.  While it is still a place for personal connections, by making your engagements personal to your customer, you can be a part of their lives.

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