Why traditional media NEEDS social media

The below is straight from a Cone LLC press release, and it is highly, highly relevant for local media companies.:

Almost 60 percent of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interact more than once per week. These are among the findings of the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study.

According to the survey, 93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media, while an overwhelming 85 percent believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media. In fact, 56 percent of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.

“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, “it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

This is an old song for me, but you’d be amazed at how few television stations or newspapers pay attention to this space. They’d rather create their own social networking (and perhaps they should) than take the time to “work” MySpace and Facebook, and that’s a shame. We keep trying to force our model on younger generations, rather than experiment where they all gather.

This study ought to be required reading for media companies, because it’s rich with information that marketers can use. People said they wanted interaction with companies, but what kind?

  • Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)
  • Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)
  • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)
  • Companies should market to consumers (25%)

We can no longer only make ourselves available via our portal websites; we must go where the people formerly known as the audience live and breathe. And increasingly, that’s in the world of social media.

Get it on, people.

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