One of the keys to reaching a target audience—whether you are after members, donors, or customers—is understanding how they consume media. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that news consumption—one of the main reason consumers use media—over social media channels is increasing.
The survey, done in August 2017, found that 67% of Americans get at least some of their news on social media. This is up slightly from August 2016, suggesting a steady upward trend.
Even more interesting are some of the demographic breakdowns.
For instance, the 2017 survey showed that more than half of respondents ages 50 and over get at least some news from social platforms. This is up 10% year-over-year, and also is the first time that more than half of the over-50 demographic report relying on social platforms for at least some news. Among those 50 and younger, the figure has stayed steady at about 78%.
Another interesting trend: use of social media among non-whites for news sources is up to 74% from 64% in 2016.
Not surprisingly, Facebook is the dominant social media platform for news consumption. Its massive user base—214 million and counting in the U.S.—explains this. But Pew found that a higher percentage of Facebook’s U.S. adult users—45%—get news on the site compared to other platforms. Another interesting wrinkle: 62% of Facebook’s news consumers are female.
The Pew report offers several useful takeaways for marketers, public relations pros and outreach directors. Among them: internet users are increasingly turning to social media for news, suggesting an increasing level of trust. If you are a content producer—and if you’re an association or have a cause you are raising awareness for, you should be—this means ensuring you are posting regular updates and sharing them via your social channels.
You should also be cognizant of how your platforms aggregate news. Are hashtags popular, for instance? Can you promote posts to boost exposure? Knowing your platforms and tailoring your strategy will help ensure your outreach is as fruitful as possible.
It also pays to know your target audiences, and how they use social platforms. The Pew study, which can be downloaded here, offers valuable insight that should help bolster, or at least refine, your outreach strategy.