The Rise of a New Breed of Social Journalism

The Rise of a New Breed of Social Journalism

The question of whether or not social media is here to stay is long gone. Brands now have the ability to reach millions of consumers directly and they are bigger publishers in their own right than many of the best known international media titles.

15 years ago, we saw a seismic shift to online journalism and now there is another big move to a new breed of social journalism. People now consume their news through social platforms, most notably Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and brands want to be a part of this. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen a considerable change in the way publishers are approaching social and staffing their teams. Media houses are placing a heightened focus on appointing social editors and developing content creation teams.

Whilst the Daily Mail boasts a circulation of 1m, their Facebook page puts this to shame with an impressive 14m followers. The Mirror has built up a large social content team which includes eight people and top lifestyle titles including Vogue, Glamour and HuffPost are driving forward their social activity. With this in mind, there is a huge opportunity to capitalise on their channels and build relationships with social editors.

dailmail on screen

How do brands innovate in the changing social editorial landscape?

There is a job to be done to educate both brands and media on the ways they can work together to co-create innovative, compelling content that will drive brand-love and engagement for both parties. From cross-posting to asset creation, brands need to develop their strategies to incorporate social activity, in turn enticing social channels to cover them.

“If Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous nation on earth.” – The Huffington Post

1. Become a brand publisher across owned channels

Alongside engaging with social editors, brands are using their own channels as a form of outlet. Using owned channels allows brands to speak directly to their consumers and some companies are now overtaking editorial outlets. With a community of over 2bn active users, Facebook is central in connecting brands to their fan base. Whilst influential brands such as Netflix boast a following of over 43m on Facebook, and Coca-Cola over 106m, media outlets including The Sun and Glamour UK have under 5m. Brands are now thinking of ways in which they can diversify their platforms, develop a strong social presence and learn what interests their target audience.

2. Be aware of social trends

Social trends are constantly emerging, and brands must be constantly monitoring these in order to develop. Brands must demand that their agencies are keeping them ahead of the curve. Here are a few things you should know are landing throughout 2018:

  • Facebook’s algorithm has changed already this year, in a bid to promote more quality content and move away from clickbait
  • Instagram is continuing to grow and with more than 800m people on the platform, and more than 23m businesses, the platform is not one to be left out of future strategies.
  • There are always new platforms cropping up to consider, such as Vero – a space to share photos, videos and text. Vero is a social media platform that grew from 1m users to 3m in a matter of days.
  • Major social networks have been adding live streaming functionalities and are continuing to develop their Live offerings this year. YouTube creators can now geo-tag live streams, which means users can explore locations for current streams.
  • Chatbots are becoming the norm. As Facebook Messenger grew, the number of bots in Messenger also grew — from 33,000 to more than 100,000 in just a year. There are also chatbots in WeChat, Slack, Viber, iMessage, and many other platforms.
facebook messenger growth

3. Have a 'messenger' strategy

Facebook Messenger has generated over 1.3bn monthly users and these people have generated more than 2bn conversations with businesses, which means marketers cannot ignore this trend.

There is greater awareness of safe sharing, shifting from public posts to messaging apps, and brands need to be prepared for an era where messaging becomes part of the communication strategy. Have a plan for it now so you don’t get left behind.

4. Use social for reactive communications

Brands are increasingly reacting to news stories, turning issues into positive coverage such as KFC recently poking fun at their chicken drought with the slogan anagram ‘FCK’. Social channels allow brands to react much quicker and in a more direct way than ever before.

Social media is not going anywhere, and the only way for both media publications and brands to survive is to adapt with the evolving media landscape.

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