Monthly ArchiveAugust 2010
Social Media 16 Aug 2010 11:51 am
It seems every day there is a new installation in social media- whether it be a technological advancement, a policy change, or a different way the platforms are being used. In recent years social media has been used frequently as a communication tool during crises. What if, eventually, social media completely takes over traditional news mediums in crisis communication?
In a survey done by American Red Cross, which asked over 1,000 American Adults aged 18 and older questions about crisis communication and social media, 18 percent reported they would use digital media (e-mail, Web sites or social media) to give information out in an emergency if 9-1-1 was busy.
People aren’t just using social media as a fallback during a crisis. They’re using social media to give and receive information about loved ones. In the Red Cross’ survey, nearly half of responders said they would use social media to let loved ones know they were safe.
This doesn’t surprise me, though. I did a research paper last semester about crisis communication and social media. My findings? Currently, people are using social media as a supplement to traditional news sources during crises. The usage of different news mediums during disasters has evolved over time. On the days following 9/11 in 2001, the Internet stopped working for a period of time because Web sites got so many hits. People turned to the television to get news.
During the Virginia Tech Crisis in 2007, students texted and emailed each other to find out if their peers were okay. In a forum online, students put together a list of names of those who were killed before authorities did. Social media allows people to gather information and collaborate quicker than if they weren’t using it.
During earthquakes around the world in the past five years, people have twittered about the effects of the shocks. There are Web sites devoted to these conversations. At the time of China’s 2008 Sichuan earthquake, people were twittering about the earthquake a good three minutes before the US Geological Survey reported it. Is social media simply the easiest way to get information about crises? On a personal level, it might be.
The American Red Cross survey found that 55 percent of responders would mention emergencies or events on their social media channels. The bottom line is that social media is simply one of the fastest way give out information. Of all of the social media channels, the survey reports that 75 percent of responders would use Facebook to post information in the event of an emergency. This is no surprise either.
Using social media during a crisis isn’t just a fast way to get facts, but it is also perceived as effective. Three out of four responders to the survey said they would expect help to arrive within an hour if they posted a request on a social media website. Granted, social media usage during crisis has negative aspects. The Internet can be used as a Petri dish for false information. For the most part, though, it can be a great way to communicate to with other people. As for whether it will overtake traditional news sources during disasters, stay tuned.
The Millennial Generation, aged 18 to 29, is a group that has grown up with technology instilled into their everyday routines. They are Internet junkies, multi-taskers, and demand personalized technology. They want to genuinely connect with others online.
Millennials are significantly different from their parents in the Baby Boomer generation in numerous ways. At cause of these lifestyle and fundamental distinctions, marketers are struggling to accommodate to millennial needs. However, Brand Amplitude, LLC, a market research firm, has launched Millennial Marketing, an online concept that provides a series of tools to understand Millennials and research to explain where the future of marketing lies.
Millennial Marketing pinpoints the generation. They are more diverse than the baby boomer generation and have a variety of needs in technology and communication areas. Due to multitasking, Millennials are consuming more media than ever, and they are more dependent on technology. Ninety three percent of American teens ages 12 to 17 go online; a Pew Research Study found that while using the Internet, 40 percent of US Youth ages 18 to 24 watch TV, 34 percent text, and 29 percent talk on the phone.
More Millennials than baby boomers have enrolled in higher education. Approximately one third of male and 40 percent of female Millennials have had some college education, compared with 25 percent and 23 percent of Baby Boomers, respectively. Yet a college education puts students in debt largely due to student loans.
The average millennial debt is $21,500, and 32 percent of Millennials feel they are “barely making ends meet.” Furthermore, there’s pressure to do well financially, but the recession has made it difficult to so. In fact, the recession has played a role in the millennial spending. Almost half of Millennials say they have changed their shopping habits somewhat, and others are questioning the need for an expensive college education.
It’s pretty clear: Millennials have different values than the Baby Boomers. They have been shaped by the recession and demand a higher degree of engagement pertaining to technology. As a result, marketers need to tailor their marketing campaigns to their different mindsets.
Millennials are price and value conscious, and they hold the products they spend their money on to high standards. They are highly skeptical of advertisements having been exposed to them their entire lives, and they use a discerning eye when it comes to purchases. Doing a quick internet search before making a selection is second nature to Millennials.
Without a doubt, the most significant shaper of the Millennials has been the internet. Something that can be both a blessing and curse for marketers is that the Millennial generation is always connected. Not only do they utilize the internet for product or service information, but as a broad communication platform as well. When a baby boomer has a bad experience with a business, they casually complain about it the next time they see their friends. On the other hand, when a Millennials has a bad experience, they share it with 800 of their closest Facebook friends. So how can brand managers channel insight into Millennial’s different lifestyle and values into a successful marketing campaign?
BrandAmplitude, LLC offers advice on how to connect with Millennials and their unique mindsets. First of all, a brand must be authentic. Millennials see right through false claims. Also, a brand must position itself as a necessity in order to appeal to Millennials. Due to the recession, this generation believes that they are strapped for cash and will be far more likely to purchase things they deem to be valuable necessities.
BrandAmplitude, LLC also recommends using social responsibility to appeal to Millennials. On average, Millennials are more socially conscious than previous generations, and they have been prone to use the presence or absence of corporate social responsibility as a tiebreaker during purchase decisions among similar brands. Millenials care that no animals were harmed in the production of a product or that a percentage of a company’s sales are donated to charity.
A brand that the Millennials can connect with needs to be shareable via social media. Due to the fact that Millennials spend a large portion of time on these sites, a relevant brand to them has what BrandAmplitude, LLC calls ‘Social Currency’. This means that a brand is social media compatible and can be exchanged on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Lastly, BrandAmplitude, LLC recommends portraying a brand as an experience. Millennials are more apt to spend their money on doing interesting things instead of having interesting things. They perceive experiences as a form of personal investment.
Even though the Millennials have strikingly different values and lifestyles than baby boomers, it is not difficult for marketers to reach this target market due to their dependency on technology. Marketers simply have to take the time to understand the Millennials and ensure that they are delivering a message that they will respond to.
Rachel Krasnow & Emily Rozanski