The growing number of social networking sites
April 5, 2017
About three weeks ago, I, along with a newspaper employee, attended an all-day seminar at the Gaylord School of Communications on the Oklahoma University campus. It was grueling. We were to be there at 8 a.m. and it was to wind up at 5:30 p.m. with lunch at your desk without leaving the room.
About 80 people forked over the money to attend (including two or three from NWOSU). It cost our newspaper about $500 when mileage, a couple of motel rooms and tuition was included. The speakers were excellent and had plenty of PowerPoint slides.
Two things stuck in my mind from the day: traditional individual business websites are almost a thing of the past … except for customer support. Unless you are Amazon.com, or hooked up with a large national business, like Ford or General Motors, it is very difficult for a local entity (business, church, school, etc.) to afford the daily manpower to keep it up to date. If you don't keep it up to date, then the hard-to-earn traffic really disappears. My advice: if you want to sell something unique, try to get Amazon to permit you to be a vendor.
Those websites that are well maintained by large corporations, like the automakers, charge their local dealers $700-$1,000 per month to utilize that well-kept site. The local dealers then have to expend the manpower to keep their sub-site up-to-date with fresh inventory lists. However the car dealer sites are so well done they can actually transact sales for the local dealer.
At the newspaper's site, http://www.AlvaReviewCourier.com, we pay a hosting firm a monthly fee for the custom designed site, but we easily spend four hours per day seven days a week keeping it fresh. Our banner ads link to individual advertisers' sites. The link amplifies the traffic to their individual sites or Facebook sites. The $100-per-month fee we get for hosting a click-through banner for an advertiser is a real bargain.
Our photo studio utilizes a national hosting site, Zenfolio, to display proof images. The proofing service is very good and that keeps it fresh. The older part of our site is rarely updated – the same problem everyone has: not enough hours in the day, although the hundreds of sample photos accurately portray what we can do.
For probably six years, the studio has paid Facebook $100 a month for a Facebook presence. It appears we get more click-throughs from the link on our newspaper website than we do Facebook. That's one reason I wanted to attend the seminar to see if there was some magic I didn't understand. What I learned is that social media fragmentation of the audience is just as bad as radio-TV fragmentation. See the list below:
Here's a list of the top 15 social media sites and their monthly traffic stats:
Vine (In January 2017, the Vine became the Vine Camera): 200,000,000
At the OU seminar we learned that those wanting to use social media to advertise their business must figure out the demographics. For example, our instructors said the youth have significantly abandoned Facebook because parents and grandparents took residence there.
They said Snapchat is the most popular in the 13-24 demographic. Yet Snapchat is not even included in the above top 15 list.
My daughter, Marisa, works in this field daily for OSU. She said, “Different services appeal to different demographics. For 18-year-olds and undergraduate programs, we find them heavily using Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. For online graduate students, with a target audience of around 35 years of age, Facebook is probably the better choice.”
I occasionally “amplify” a Facebook post by agreeing to spend $10 or $15 to reach “another 1500 people.” Each day they offer me something like that so if I agreed every time, it would cost me $300-$450 per month.
Marisa issued a caution, “If you decide to actively use social media, you MUST have a way to constantly monitor and check it frequently. The quick response is necessary to immediately respond to a customer inquiry. The quick response also helps your reputation and avoids public damage from disgruntled or misinformed customers if they blast you online.”
Interestingly she said, “Video is the content area that gets the most attention from social media users (there are stats out there to verify this but I don't recall the source off the top of my head), but many businesses aren't aware of this. It's a bit intimidating to prdouce video, but it gets a lot more engagement than text-based posts.
The local vo-tech is going to offer a two-hour social media course. I plan to attend that to see if what I learn is different than the 8-hour OU course.