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A jobs listings newpaper is displayed on a newspaper stand in London April 13, 2011.
A jobs listings newpaper is displayed on a newspaper stand in London April 13, 2011.

Grow: Mia Pearson

Use the news to drum up business Add to ...

Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism put out a report this week that focused on the shifting power of Facebook, and how it is becoming increasingly influential in flowing traffic to major news sites.

I was surprised, as I had perceived “breaking news” social networks such as Twitter as the bigger influencer of news. However, Twitter accounts for only 1 per cent of the traffic driven to the top 25 news sites globally.

What the report focused on was the power of links and “likes” by your trusted community. There appears to be a trend by Facebook users to share more than their personal information, to drive friends and colleagues to their top news sites and recommended articles.

Facebook and news organizations are taking notice. We have seen in the past six months a number of news organizations around the world integrating Facebook into the way they present news. You can see whether your friends on Facebook have liked or commented on a specific Globe and Mail article, for example.

As a small business owner, knowing where to place your bets from a marketing and communications perspective is important. You have limited resources and time to spend promoting your products and services, on and offline. When you read a news story that supports your point of view – or, better yet, is a positive review of your services – you want to make sure you are sharing that broadly with people who will click through and read it.

Integrating social media into your traditional PR strategy can have a huge amplification effect, ensuring that mainstream media stories are read and shared by your network of friends and followers.

As you make content updates to your company’s Facebook pages, be sure to link out to mainstream news stories where your own network can comment on and “like” the story, ensuring it is seen in the newsfeeds of your followers.

As social media continues to evolve, who knows where we will be?

Facebook has been successful in expanding beyond personal content, engaging its users on multiple levels. Small businesses can take advantage of this shift in news traffic by being engaged in social media and continuing to evolve strategies in this changing environment.

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic . She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

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