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October 8, 2012

FT Study: Almost two thirds of people believe social media enhances reputation

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading sources for business, finance and politics news. But where exactly do they lie in relation to the world of social media? A recently conducted survey on the social media behaviours has recently provided us with details into the global social channels that drive FT consumption.

The survey, which has since been converted into an infographic, has shown that the UK and US alone have accounted for just under half of the whole FT readership at an amazing 49%. The rest of the world makes up the other 51%. Being a global publication with a social media audience of 3.9 million, it is more important than ever for the FT to take every advantage it has to enhance productivity, efficiency and more importantly, the relationship between the publication and its readers.

It seems the readers, whom average at the age of 41 years old, cannot get enough of social media, with the majority checking their social networking sites several times a day, whether it be part of their jobs, or leisurely, for example during breaks, while commuting or after work.  What does this mean for the FT? It means that several times a day, users are out actively seeking information. It means that there is a perfect opportunity there to share a message or its content. It emphasises the importance of interaction with social media – for the FT, it means that it can continue to demonstrate a level of credibility within its field in a portal which is checked and updated far more often than the tradition newspaper is actually read. It is the team’s job to make sure it is the FT brand name people see on user’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Surprisingly three quarters (75%) of FT readers are following them on social media pages – 39% are following then on Twitter, 35% on Facebook and 22% on LinkedIn. Why is this important? It shows us that it is not just one social networking site that’s booming – the figures of popularity between them are not huge. It’s definitely worth investing some time and effort into ensuring you’re on all of these social networking sites and more importantly, using them in the right way. I was quite surprised that Linked-in was so low as the FT is a purely business audience and that is a business-to-business network.

What content should financial and news institutions be posting on their social media channels? For the FT, it focuses on related news, analysis and opinion pieces – which based on feedback is exactly what their readers are wanting! However, it also seemed that a lot of the FT social media users would like to see more competitions and offers on the pages. Making your target audience feel like they are getting something for nothing is a real attraction and can generally increase the level of interaction and engagement from your readers.

The infographic also revealed the social media is the fastest ever growing source of traffic to FT.com – In fact, 20% of traffic to FT.com has been driven by social media in just six months! Joining social media not only drives interaction, but it also drives business.

How does this link in with PR? The statistics show that 58% of FT social media users believe social media enhances its reputation and 40% read the FT more as a result of it. Referring to the definition of Public Relations provided by the CIPR (“Public Relations is about reputation – The results of what you do, what you say and what other people say about you”), it proves that we are now in an era where social media is beginning to dominate PR.

Were you surprised at the figures revealed by its survey? Let us know then in the comments…

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