The other side of social media: how information changed in the digital era
In Italy, the usage of social media as a source of information almost doubled since 2013 while printed media dropped dramatically, and this trend is especially strong with younger generations. But what are the factors behind? Increased digitization and familiarity with online tools for sure play a role, but the trigger lays on the transition from a mass form of communication to a personalized one.
However, leveraging customized, emotional contents is not so easy, nor always leads to results worthy of merit. Specifically, based on their ability to jump on the bandwagon of doing information on social media, we could segment news creators in three fundamental categories: the “I wish I could”, the “binge eaters” and the “information superheroes”.
The “I wish I could” are offline magazines and newspapers that moved online because the times forced them to do so. They try to keep the pace, but their blindness through innovative ways of communicating often hinders them. The majority uses social media as a shop window for their websites, without taking into consideration that people who are in social media... wants to stay on social media! Language and tone of voice also represent barriers: to make appealing contents, it is important to keep them sweet and short, with a pinch of irony, of course!
“Binge eaters” instead, are always hungry… of clicks! They are content creators whose sole aim is to have readers click on their posts, landing on their websites, to earn the money coming from advertising. These people are, oppositely from the “I wish I could”, very good at copywriting and content creation: they use emotional, tailored titles to generate a curiosity gap in the user, and push him to read the article. Apart from usually not being reliable sources of information, the main pain point of this strategy, called click-bait, is that, with time, it will lead to disappointment if the content does not meet the expectations created with the headers. And next time, no one is going to click on the link.
“Information superheroes” are mainly composed of online native realities born in the last years to provide social media users of every age, but mainly younger generations, information that can be considered both reliable and in line with the tone of voice of the platforms. These organizations approach every argument, from economic issues to personal topics, with a clear and tight style. Moreover, they always post content based on reliable, double-checked sources of information. It is easy to understand why we have defined this third group as our “Information Superheroes”, trying to fight for the acknowledgments of an ever-increasing population inhabiting the digital platforms. Another fundamental characteristic of “information superheroes”, is that they have a clear targeting strategy. They want to build a strong relation with their community of followers, based on two-way dialogue, transparency, interaction, admitting errors, and checking the sources. Thanks to this relationship, this group has successfully built its trustworthiness.
As we have seen in this article, different players are trying to satisfy the need of social media users to inform themselves online. We have understood that to build a successful social media strategy, new creators have to build a strong relationship with people and provide reliable, engaging, and transparent content. This is what Information Superheroes are trying to do daily. Bocconi Students Marketing Society has the pleasure to host on the 19th of April an event with the representatives of three different realities that with great success operate as Information Superheroes: Will Ita, Marketing Espresso, and Venti. If you want to find out more about how effectively they are changing the social media environment, come and join the event.
Written by: Xenia Biagini, Alessandro Benini
Edited by: Nicola Curci