How to crack the social media code

Traditional journalism is on life support.

That’s what some casual observers would have you believe, but we’re here to tell you they’re wrong.

How could this be? The answer lies in social media and digital content, which is creating new methods for consumer engagement and giving new relevance to mainstream news outlets (imagine a Twitter feed without news articles and you begin to understand what we mean).

As the New York Times reports this week, social media and news aggregation sites presenting ‘snippets’ of news amidst a flood of unrelated content (think dancing kittens and baby photos) are gaining relevance when it comes to controlling consumer mindshare. The Times reports a whopping 30 percent of US adults get their news on Facebook:

“Facebook now has a fifth of the world — about 1.3 billion people — logging on at least monthly. It drives up to 20 percent of traffic to news sites, according to figures from the analytics company SimpleReach… About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from Pew Research. The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed.”

Facebook isn’t the only example. A glance at the most-visited websites in the US has social media portals like Facebook (ranked 2), Twitter (7), LinkedIn (9), Reddit (10) and Tumblr (16) all ranked ahead of dedicated news sites like (22), (25), (29), (61) and (63).

Cory Haik, senior editor for digital news at the Washington Post puts it simply:

“People don’t type in anymore. It’s search and social.”

So how can companies adapt to the changing face of media — where the lure and value of meaningful content often trumps the source itself — while strengthening their brand and telling their story?

Social media continues to blur the lines between traditional media and owned content. The companies that are creating smart, sharable content rather than simply advertising their products or services are the ones that will ultimately be heard.