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The value of social media to public affairs


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I prepared this presentation in January, 2010 as a means for convincing the leadership of the Georgia National Guard that the integration of a comprehensive social media strategy was absolutely necessary if we were to optimize content exposure, reach and influence.

The content of this presentation aims at showing "technology immigrants" just how vast the reach of major social media really is.

Published in: Technology, Business
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The value of social media to public affairs

  1. 1. The Value of Social Media to Public Affairs
  2. 2. The Conversation <ul><li>Social media can perhaps best be defined as the interactive relationships through which information is exchanged and democratized </li></ul><ul><li>With increasing accessibility to internet tools, the world is becoming ever-more connected; thus exponentially disempowering the traditional media which functioned through the conventional barriers to information which no longer really exist </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, news now primarily spreads through conversation and personal information exchange. People went from discussing the news to making it </li></ul><ul><li>Because news is being shared through social media, those who seek to shape the news must participate in social media. We can’t win the game if our team isn’t even on the field! </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Primary Tools <ul><li>Wikipedia: the primary online encyclopedia with socially generated and edited content </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook: the premier social networking site where users upload photos, make fan groups, have discussions and “add friends </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: a “microblogging” service where users frequently “follow” friends as a means for aggregating news, links and information </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube: the foremost online service for uploading and sharing videos. Users can subscribe to “channels,” and “add friends” </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn: a networking site aimed primarily at business interaction and professional relationships </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace: a social networking site known mostly for its multimedia functions and customizability which make it uniquely suited as a multimedia aggregate </li></ul><ul><li>Digg: the premier social bookmarking service which allows users to create accounts and “digg” stories they like – the more “diggs” a story gets, the more exposure it gets through the website </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger: a blog service which serves as an informal means for generating unique content </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Reach of Those Tools <ul><li>Wikipedia and all of its subsidiaries see about 327 million unique world-wide visitors, giving Wikipedia a “reach” of close to 30% ( comScore ) </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook has 350 million users world-wide visitors and over 260 billion monthly page views ( TechCrunch and pingdom ) </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter sees over 23 million unique monthly visitors who post between 20 and 25 million “tweets” a day ( TechCrunch and GigaTweet ) </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube brings in over 85 million monthly visitors and, every minute, 20 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube ( Compete and YouTube ) </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn has perhaps the most affluent and educated user demographic of any social medium; of its 45 million users, over 80% have attained a college degree and just under 70% make $60,000 a year or more ( TechCrunch and Quantcast ) </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace brings in about 50 million unique visitors per month and over 24 billion page views ( TechCrunch and pingdom ) </li></ul><ul><li>Digg brings in about 40 million unique visitors per month, which is more than twice the amount of traffic sees ( TechCrunch and Compete ) </li></ul><ul><li>Of the 5 million+ blogs tracked by Technorati in 2008, 12% were run by “corporate bloggers” (i.e. they blog for their company in an official capacity) – which means there were at least 600,000 corporate/professional blogs in 2008 ( Technorati ) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Traditional by Media Comparison <ul><li>While 50% of the US internet population blogged in 2008, 40% got their news from online sources and just 35% got their news from newspapers ( Technorati and PEW Research ) </li></ul><ul><li>The most widely circulated newspaper in America is USA Today , with a daily circulation of just over 2.1 million ( Audit Bureau of Circulation ). Even if this daily circulation equated to the paper reaching a new set of 2.1 million people each day of every month (which is not the case), the resulting monthly circulation of 63.4 million would still be ½ the number of unique visitors Facebook sees monthly ( Compete ) </li></ul><ul><li>The most widely circulated magazine in America, AARP Bulletin , has a circulation of 24.5 million, which is just over ½ the number of monthly unique visitors attracted by Digg ( Audit Bureau of Circulation ) </li></ul><ul><li>The FOX News Channel, which has been the highest-rated cable news network for several years, has a total-day average viewing audience of 1.3 million viewers per hour and 15.6 million daily; which is about the same size as the number of unique visitors LinkedIn sees monthly ( Huffington Post ) </li></ul><ul><li>Rush Limbaugh has the largest audience in all of talk radio with 14.75 million listeners, which is just over half the number of unique monthly visitors Twitter attracts ( Talkers Magazine ). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Blogs <ul><li>As of mid 2009, 81 of the Fortune 500, 39% of the Inc. 500, 41% of the higher education sector and 57% of the nation’s top 200 charities currently had blogs ( Society for New Communications Research ) </li></ul><ul><li>Half of the nation’s top ten companies had public blogs (Wal-Mart, Chevron, General Motors, Ford, and Bank of America) ( SNCR ) </li></ul><ul><li>Of the Fortune 500 companies blogs, 90% had the comments feature enabled ( SNCR ) </li></ul><ul><li>The computer software/hardware technology industry had the most blogs, followed by the food and drug industry, financial services, internet services, semi-conductors, retail and automotive respectively ( SNCR ) </li></ul><ul><li>Ten percent of Fortune 500 blogs linked to podcasts; 21% incorporate video ( SNCR ) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Corporate Bloggers Technorati <ul><li>The Overlap </li></ul><ul><li>Of Corporate Bloggers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>69% are also personal bloggers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>65% are also professional bloggers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Of Professional Bloggers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>59% are also personal bloggers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>17% are corporate bloggers </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>It is practically impossible to enter a generic word search into Google and not get a Wikipedia article as one of the primary results on the first page. For example, the fifth ranked Google result for “National Guard” is a Wikipedia article. A Wikipedia article also comprises the 8 th result for “Army National Guard,” which coincidentally follows both Georgia Guard websites on the search result. </li></ul><ul><li>The English version of Wikipedia has nearly 3 million articles, perhaps explaining why Wikipedia is so comprehensive ( Mashable ) </li></ul><ul><li>For this reason, Wikipedia is arguably the most powerful SEO tool available, if utilized properly </li></ul><ul><li>All links in Wikipedia use “nofollow” coding, which means traffic can be driven from Wikipedia to your site but that traffic does not affect your website’s ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) – making Wikipedia an excellent PR tool for SEO and message control/influence but not effective in generating direct advertising revenue </li></ul>
  9. 9. Wikipedia Content Growth Mashable * Current number of Wikipedia articles at 3,151,125
  10. 10. <ul><li>More than 350 million active users </li></ul><ul><li>50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day </li></ul><ul><li>More than 35 million users update their status each day </li></ul><ul><li>More than 55 million status updates posted each day </li></ul><ul><li>More than 2.5 billion photos uploaded to the site each month </li></ul><ul><li>More than 3.5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week </li></ul><ul><li>More than 3.5 million events created each month </li></ul><ul><li>More than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans ( Facebook ) </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Companies that use social-networking websites like Facebook are 17 times more likely to improve customer satisfaction than companies that don’t use the sites ( Aberdeen ) </li></ul><ul><li>According to the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study, 93% of Americans believe that a company should have a presence on social media sites and 85 percent believe that these companies should use social media to interact with consumers ( Cone ). </li></ul><ul><li>According to that same study: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>60% said they regularly interact with companies through social media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>43% said companies should use social networks to solve consumer problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>41% said companies should solicit feedback on products and services through social media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>37% said companies should develop new ways for consumers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to interact with their brand </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Facebook vs CNN and NYT Compete Compete
  13. 13. <ul><li>Twitter provides the opportunity to listen and respond to what people are saying about your brand and market instantaneously </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter users are often referred to as the “super amplifiers” of the social media world – meaning Twitter is almost a necessary component of any “viral” trend </li></ul><ul><li>What that Georgia Guard can do with Twitter: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase number of people reading content, releases and publicity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Alert community of breaking news and upcoming events </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collect and respond to relevant information in the social media ether </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Update analysts and media directly and informally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meet and converse with new prospects (recruiting and retention) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Share information amongst other guard organizations and individuals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Of the Fortune 500 companies that have blogs, 28% link the blog to a twitter account ( SNCR ) </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Some Guard organizations using Twitter: </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Twitter “Boom” TechCrunch
  16. 16. <ul><li>Each week, the average consumer spends a little more than 4 hours on the Internet, 22 minutes watching online video, and 3 minutes watching mobile video. Additionally, online video viewership is up 34.9% from this time last year ( Nielson ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2009, The average online video viewer watched 385 minutes of video, or 6.4 hours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>107.1 million viewers watched 6.8 billion videos on YouTube (63.5 videos per viewer) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes ( ComScore ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In April of 2009, nearly 79% of the entire U.S. internet population watched online video, and YouTube accounted for about 99%, or 107 million, of that viewing audience ( ComScore ) </li></ul><ul><li>Behind Google and Facebook, is the 3 rd most globally viewed website (Facebook is 1st, Wikipedia 6 th , Blogger 7 th , Twitter 13 th , MySpace 14 th , LinkedIn is 39 th , is 43 rd , and CNN is 61 st ) ( Alexa ) </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some corporations which waited too long to make YouTube accounts and had (or still have) no control over how their brand name is/was represented on YouTube: McDonalds, MTV, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, BMW, Disney, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo </li></ul>
  17. 17. How Americans are Watching Video Nielsen Cisco
  18. 18. <ul><li>The PR value of MySpace is relative to the campaign, but MySpace is an excellent multimedia aggregate and it’s high traffic rate presents yet another SEO opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>In April 2009, roughly 49 million viewers watched 387 million videos on ( ComScore ) </li></ul><ul><li>The average MySpace visitor is on the site for about 15 minutes per visit – meaning your page has a higher likelihood of being discovered on MySpace than does a news story on CNN, where the average viewer only stays for less than 5½ minutes ( Alexa ) </li></ul><ul><li>The multi-media (i.e. customization) aspect of a MySpace presents a unique opportunity for recruiting and retention efforts </li></ul><ul><li>The National Guard currently has over 14,000 “friends” and 1,100 comments on it’s MySpace page </li></ul>
  19. 19. Advertisers Value MySpace The Strategy Web
  20. 20. <ul><li>Digg is the premier social bookmarking mechanism, and as such is largely responsible for the extrapolated popularity of the stories favored by its community </li></ul><ul><li>Digg has several PR values; you can: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase visibility of stories about (or important to) your organization </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attain better awareness of the popular stories germane to your market </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Help increase the visibility of your business partners by “digging” stories about them </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase your social networking opportunities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Every article you “Digg” isn’t guaranteed to become wildly popular… but if you aren’t on Digg, you’re robbing yourself of creating that possibility </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Type of Traffic Digg Drives
  22. 22. <ul><li>LinkedIn is primarily a social networking site, but it does represent certain SEO value for the Georgia Guard and it’s employees because of its high traffic rate and 55 million users </li></ul><ul><li>By creating an organizational LinkedIn account, we get yet another opportunity to control the messaging someone sees when they search for us, our organization or key terms relevant to our organization </li></ul><ul><li>Moreover, LinkedIn makes the organization and its employees more accessible for potential recruits – not to mention the profile format which allows employees to display their experience and qualifications, giving both the Georgia Guard and its Guardsmen more credibility </li></ul><ul><li>The various group and sub-group opportunities provided by Linked in offer a unique and secure means for informal group discussions – a potential asset for the Georgia Guard and its many units </li></ul><ul><li>There is executive representation from all Fortune 500 companies on LinkedIn </li></ul>
  23. 23. Marketing Charts Marketers Using Social Media
  24. 24. Marketing Charts The ROI of Social Media
  25. 25. Conclusion <ul><li>As with any PR strategy, social media PR is about “messaging,” but “messaging” entails a lot more than just composition – it also requires efficient delivery. And on the internet, efficient delivery requires SEO – and SEO now requires social media optimization (SMO) </li></ul><ul><li>When someone is searching for the Georgia Guard (or a term relevant to the Georgia Guard), we want to control or influence the results as much as possible. If we adequately represent ourselves through social media, we’ll have optimum control over the first seven or eight results of any web search </li></ul><ul><li>If we do not join the social media conversation, it WILL take place without us ; those organizations which neglect social media are not only neglecting the lion’s share of PR outreach opportunities, but they also risk being misrepresented by a competitor or a disgruntled consumer. In other words, people will talk about you whether you’re in the room or not. Social media not only puts us in the room, but it allows us to listen and respond to what’s being said! </li></ul><ul><li>More importantly, public relations involves more than just propagation – it’s a boundary-spanning process through which an organization and its publics interact. There’s no better current means for practicing sound PR than social media </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations who don’t engage social media now are no better off than the organizations who neglected making their own website a decade ago. </li></ul>