At any given moment, an individual reading through Facebook updates comes across news updates: which team just won or lost, if an earthquake has struck or the latest decision out of Washington.
The surveys back it up: Facebook is quickly becoming the news hub of the majority of online users. Twitter serves in this capacity, as well, but the user base is not nearly as large as Facebook.
Even eclipsing Google News, Facebook news links are bringing news to the masses as individuals start their day and spend much of their time finding out what friends and family are doing and what type of news they are sharing.
No longer do people click to a national newspaper or TV station website for news while they are online. Now, news comes to us, and as some have said, “If it’s important enough, my connections will talk about it and link to it. Now, the news finds me.”
Many major news organizations now integrate Facebook into the news cycle, adding widgets to their home pages and posting news on the site at the same time it’s released elsewhere. At the same time, many individuals are realizing they can create their own news hub in the sense that RSS made possible: subscribing to news feeds through Facebook to create a customized flow of news and information.
Communicators need to consider Facebook when creating marketing and public relations plans. Even if a company is focused on business-to-business, gaining attention on Facebook can boost awareness and thought leadership, benefitting the company throughout the sales cycle.
Some businesses are developing Facebook strategies; however, the social network should be integrated into a full communications plan.
-- Tonja Deegan