Social media news

Raised in a time of rapid change, the priorities of the tech-savvy, constantly-connected millennial generation are vastly different from those of their predecessors.

Though, just like their parents and indeed their grandparents, millennials consider it important to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the world. What differs is how the generation consumes news content – it’s bye bye broadsheet and BBC News at Six…

A social news source

A Reuters study last year, based on YouGov data, uncovered that social media had overtaken TV as young people’s main source of news. Of the 18-24-year-olds polled, 28% cited social media as their main news source, topping the 24% who said TV.

The same study unveiled Facebook as the top dog for news, with 44% of the around-50,000 people polled saying they use the platform to watch, share and comment on news. Facebook, along with other social media channels, have shifted from being ‘places of news discovery’ to become the places people consume their news.

Now, online dominates the news market, with social channels accounting for a pretty hefty piece of the pie. But, back to millennials; here are some of the key ways social media has transformed the way they consume news:

It’s part of their lives

Millennials don’t have time to mull over a paper whilst devouring a bowl of cornflakes; and neither do they feel compelled to dedicate half an hour every evening to watch a news show.

While older generations have dedicated ‘news times,’ millennials – and their multi-tasking ways – consume news content on-the-move and whilst engaging in other activities. News is very much woven into their daily lives; they’re reading today’s top headlines as they scan their social feeds. They simultaneously catch up with what their friends are doing and with what’s going on in the world.

In terms of the most newsworthy channel, Facebook definitely scoops the accolade. So, for brands, if you have some engaging, timely content to share, pick this platform for the best chance of targeting this demographic.

Social media encourages open-mindedness

Older generations tend to choose news that aligns with their views, quite simply because they don’t want to be challenged. You can tell a lot about a person’s political stance by the papers they read; and even the papers or stories claiming to be neutral will inch a little to the left or right if you inspect close enough.

Social media, on the other hand, exposes millennials to multiple viewpoints (you only have to read a comments section to suss that one out). Millennials are much more willing to consider opinions that differ from their own. In fact, Forbes writes that of the 85% millennials exposed to diverse opinions on social media, 73% click to learn more.

This open-mindedness is good news for brands. Millennials are less stuck in their ways and as a result, easier to reach out to. Once you’ve got their attention, it’s down to you to create content that inspires, informs and engages them.

They source news from people they know

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Jon Snow may be extremely credible news reporters, but millennials are more likely to turn to – and trust – the people they know for their news. Says Forbes again, Gen Y are twice as likely to prefer getting information from people they know, compared with baby boomers.

This isn’t to say that they solely rely on their pals for news; they still turn to trusted sources, but like it when their friends act as mediators, tagging or linking them to stories they know they’ll like.

As a business, successfully engaging millennials on social media is two-step process. Firstly, you need to build a strong social presence by making sure you’re posting and interacting with your audience on a regular basis. Next up, you need to build trust by creating and sharing quality content you know will resonate with the demographic. Hopefully then, you’ll see brand engagement skyrocket – why not turn to the experts to get you there?

Ben Hollom

August 15, 2017