4th October 2019

Why social channels are the media outlet of tomorrow

For the last decade and a half, PR and social media departments have run harmoniously, but in parallel to each other in the wider marketing function. This was mainly due to both marketeers and users viewing them as two separate channels with two separate purposes.

Social media in the early 2000’s was the shiny new channel to appear on but wasn’t considered a marketing tool up until the 2010’s, when the front runners (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) began building lead generating and commerce-handling functionalities into their code and ad/revenue capabilities in the form of ‘Ads Manager’ sister tools.

This resulted in a behavioral shift in how to utilise these channels, from being purely content generating, to being taken seriously as the channels that consumers and business alike are depending on for their daily activity.

Probably the greatest realisation in the utilisation of social media was its immediacy in connecting with its users.

We have seen Twitter shift into a journalist’s key communication tool and microblog, with breaking news hitting their followers within seconds of it happening and (most likely) hours before they begin writing the story up or preparing their next broadcast.

We have seen Instagram knock glossy magazines off their generation-long pedestal, with high fashion and consumer brands using its channel as the preferred creative portfolio outside of its website. Influencers, whether they are fashion, health or lifestyle focused are taking content into their own hands, instead of aspiring to win the top spot of ‘Weekly Fashion Columnist’.

And finally, we have seen how integral the use of your personal and business LinkedIn channel is in learning from and connecting with your industry peers, instead of relying on the drawn-out process of attending trade events.

All of this contributes to the theory of a mobile and social-first news industry, with Statista reporting all aspects of growth, from an average of 30 million new social users gained per year and the highest recorded time on channel per day reaching a staggering four hours and one minute. The statistics show we are already operating, as PR professionals, in a digital-first environment.

Earlier this year, we delivered a social media fronted lead generation campaign for client Manifesto Growth Architects. Even though Manifesto’s contact base was strong, there were still key brands and businesses it wanted to target to attend its ‘Membership Economics’ event.

LinkedIn Campaigns Manager was, therefore, the perfect way to target these key brands to push news of the event on a daily basis to the user’s timeline, as well as convert into attendees and downloads of its whitepaper.

By building a targeted audience we gained both attendees for a breakfast briefing event they hosted in the heart of London as well as downloads of the whitepaper report post-event, all on the LinkedIn channel.

Running alongside Manifesto Growth’s physical outreach to contacts, the ads drew in high calibre attendees from Deliveroo, Barclaycard and Aviva and helped introduce over 36 new brands to the client.

So, what are we predicting for the future?

If social media has taken over the news industry, why not search? With 473,400 Tweets sent per minute and 49,380 images uploaded to Instagram per minute, we believe it won’t be long before these social giants evolve into the preferred search engine of the future, presenting new opportunities for businesses looking to reach and engage their audiences.

Megan Anderson, Senior Account Executive

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