Social media gaining on search engines

How did you find this blog?

An analytics report for this site will show you were most likely brought here by Google, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

A recent post by Buzz Feed titled “Where did all the search traffic go?” explores changes in website traffic. BuzzFeed tracked traffic referrals to more than 200 publishers in their network that include more than 300 million people globally. They found that traffic from Google dropped more than 30 percent from August 2012 through March 2013 and search engines in general dropped by 20 percent in the same period.BuzzFeed's graph illustrating traffic sources

While search-engine-directed traffic decreased, site traffic did not. Traffic from all social media channels combined grew by 25 percent for the site. In March 2013, BuzzFeed found that Facebook sent 1.5 times more traffic than Google – the largest increase they have ever seen.

Increased social traffic proves the influence social platforms can have on users and implies that users’ online experience can be directed from friends and connections on social media as much as it can from highly intelligent Google robots.

As BuzzFeed put it, “We aren’t hunting for content as much as we are foraging from what’s right in front of us.” Whereas people may have once been led to food blogs by searching for a recipe and ingredients online, they are now led by their friend’s Facebook post, Pinterest board, or tweet. Similarly, you were most likely directed to this blog from Facebook, Twitter, or an email than from typing in “public relations blog” as a Google search term.

That’s not to say you wouldn’t have found this blog if you typed that in – but in the world of social, people may be taking less time to type in search terms and decide to read what’s sent to their inbox or included in their newsfeed.…read the full article here.

Social media proves it not only connects but also can be a matter of life and death

If you’ve watched TV news in the past week, you saw the constant coverage of the devastating Boston bombings as well as the tireless pursuit of the bombing suspects. If you were on social media this past week, you saw the same thing – but at a faster pace. Following the bombing, more than 500,000 tweets with the hashtag #BostonMarathon were collected by a research group from Syracuse University.

This saturated, unfiltered coverage eventually led to as much, if not more harm than good. Social media users made false accusations after examining photos and made up false headlines to try to take the lead in reporting. Suddenly, the medium that served as a watchdog, alerting the country of tragedy, became an unpredictably wild dog in the overall story.

The impact of social media isn’t new or surprising to PR practitioners. So it is still somewhat surprising – although very welcomed – when clients ask us why it’s important to be on social media.

In future social media presentations, I’ll remember to refer to this past week to demonstrate the impact social media channels can have. It was an example of not only how powerfully social media can engage others but also how quickly the unfiltered medium can take a turn for the worse. As we tell our clients, social media needs to be managed and we are able to train our clients on the importance of a successful crisis plan.

While many are still skeptical of the importance of social media in our lives, it is irrefutable that social media played a major part in our nation’s coverage of last week’s terrorist attack. That proves to me that the same channel of communication that drives traffic to business blogs such as this one, is also giving people vital information that could be a matter of life and death.…read the full article here.

Maker’s Mark gets a lesson in brand identity

Every southerner knows that messing with bourbon is a surefire way to not get invited back to a party.  Except Maker’s Mark. Beam Inc., the parent company of the Kentucky bourbon, announced last week that due to the company’s success and the time it takes to age a batch of whiskey (six years), they could not keep up with demand. As a result, Beam announced they would be reducing the alcohol content from 90 to 84, diluting the alcohol to make more batches.

Maker’s Mark fans took to social media and voiced their opinion that they rather have no Maker’s Mark than pseudo-Maker’s Mark. Beam listened. Less than a week later, they reversed their decision.

Loyal consumers can be hard to come by and when you find them, you should hold on tight.  For those true fans of the bourbon that have been making purchase decisions based on this brand for some time, Maker’s Mark decision to compromise quality and keep the brand, affected the integrity of the brand.

Fortunately, Maker’s Mark heeded their customers’ outcries and kept their public relations blunder to just the one brand identity flop. By listening to their customers, they avoided diluting both their product and their brand.  Hopefully other brands will take note as well: When your message is getting through loud and clear, don’t tone it down!…read the full article here.