In the current world, we live in, there are several avenues in which to get your message out to the audiences you hope to address. With that, there are several challenges that are created in order to elevate your message above the noise. The old models and metrics of market share and audience reach do not really work anymore. New metrics are needed to really bring to light how effective a media channel is. This paper will cover some of what shortcomings are in the market space around metrics to judge how a specific media channel is doing.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, Traditional News Outlets, Face-to-Face, and other personal interactions. Each of these channels and their various offshoots present their own challenges are require a tailored media/message approach. It is the basics of knowing your audience and how to reach them. A long post on Facebook does not translate to Twitter, which is limited to 140 characters. Instagram is visual where a blog can have more words and ideas than a picture can convey. Traditional News Outlets are restricted to what they can say or what stories they will run based on how the message will be received by their viewers and advertisers. Face-to-Face is expensive and time consuming. So how do we manage each of these channels?
Let us look at social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al) each service tries to do basically the same thing in a different way. Never before in human history can a group or even lone person have access to such a large audience, relativity unfettered. No longer is the story controlled by those who own the network. Facebook alone has almost 4.8 billion pieces of content posted daily, according to Zephoria.com. That makes it that much harder for the message you are trying to put out has to compete with billions of other pictures, news stories, videos, status updates, and ads. Instagram sees 95 million photos and videos per day according to Hootsuite.com again, saturation will cause your message to get lost in the noise.
So how do you measure a successful social media post? Is it the number of likes or views? I don’t think so. The goal of a social media post should be user interaction. It really shows engagement beyond just a click. Some users click like on everything that pops up in their newsfeed, whether they read it or not. To counter that, someone who takes the time to share a social media post, to their own followers, curating if you will, something they felt was important is a much better gauge on the success of a post. Even better is the number of times a post caused a user to click a link through to the source material. If you can convert a social media user over to interact with your website, you have them and can almost guarantee that they are truly interested in the content you are providing. Conversion is the goal in social media.
Blogs, on the other hand, provide a way for an organization to present more long form news and information articles. The goal of a blog is beyond simple page views, again you are looking for interaction. You want someone who is reading your blog to continue beyond the article that was linked from the viewer’s original source, usually social media, and then you want them to share the article to their friends. One of the worst statistics you can see on a blog is a high bounce rate. This would mean people are coming to your article, reading it and leaving. Or not even reading the article, due to any number of reason, normally slow page loading. The goal for a blog is to also create engagement, page views are not enough. The metric to check is comments and shares. It shows that your articles connected with readers in a way that caused them to want to be part of the conversation, not just a consumer.
Traditional Media presents several new challenges that have been created by social media. The pressure is on to provide worthwhile content that delivers ears/eyeballs to the advertisers. In this case, the content is not the commodity but the consumer is. Your message will not be carried if the media outlet doesn’t think it will bring enough value to their advertisers that are paying for the airtime your story occupies. With so many avenues open to the message generator the future of traditional media is quickly becoming outmoded, just no one has told them yet. It is expensive and does not create a ton of ROI.
Face-to-Face is a great way to get your message out on a more personal level. Humans still enjoy and connect more with a face to face conversation, in whatever format, then they do an online interaction. Forums like TEDTalks and South-by-Southwest that bring several experts together for short talks are very popular and easy for a large audience to digest. Long form lectures and presentations attract a very narrow scope of people who are generally in a core group of people who are truly interested in the content. It is hard to attract the casual observer into something like this.
Today people expect to receive their news and information in small digestible quick bites. Media consumption has gone to the buffet model and less the meal model. People today will read dozens of news stories and watch a couple of videos and gain more information on a subject in 30 minutes than someone would have reviewed in a whole day not 10 years ago. Without changing your model away from long form snippets to a quick bite format your message will be lost.