New research shows that adults 18-30 are interested in local news if it’s delivered on social networking sites. And, they add, a TV station would make an impression with them if it had a presence on those sites.
If television stations want to talk to young adults (ages 18-30), the welcome mat is out – on social media networks.
New research conducted by market research and consultation firm CJ&N Inc. in partnership with Brand Amplitude shows there is room for — and interest in — news and information where young adults spend much of their time: on Facebook, Twitter and similar social networks. More than a third of online adults are social networkers, and this research shows they have a need for local news and information.
“It may surprise you that this group is very amenable to — even encouraging of — a local news organization being part of the social media mix,” said CJ&N’s Vice President of Research Mary Beth Marks.
In a series of online focus groups, young adults across the country indicated a strong interest in local information and said they would welcome the availability of that information on their turf — social networking sites. Further, they said that a local television station would make an impression with them if it had a presence on those sites.
“They may not be loyal local television news viewers today, but they are certainly local information seekers,” said John Altenbern, CJ&N president.
According to the study, how stations interact on social networks will determine how well they’re accepted. In fact, if stations aren’t careful, they may inflict damage to their brand among this group.
“It’s very important for stations to do their homework and know what young adults want or they risk looking out of place,” said Marks. “Respondents said that when organizations get on Facebook a lot of times it’s like when your parents are trying to act cool, but they’re not.”
Yet even if stations execute a flawless social networking strategy, it may not necessarily increase television news viewing among this group — at least not right away. Young adults say they are not likely to turn to a newscast anytime soon. The one exception is breaking news. They may first hear about a story on social networks, but will then turn to television as a trusted source to see coverage of breaking news.
“Right now, the benefit for local television stations is using these platforms to talk with an audience they may not otherwise be able to reach. It’s an opportunity to build their brand by filling a need in a way this group is willing to accept,” Altenbern says.
Findings are based on a series of online focus groups with adults ages 18-30 across the United States. Respondents included a mix of men and women, college students, those in the workforce and those with a young family. The groups were conducted earlier this month.