I was a slacker on Social Media Day, attending no formal events. But I still managed to glean some interesting info.
With all the hype about blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc., the thing I always look for is tangible results. I found some by sifting through info from my former home area, Orange County, CA.
The Orange County Register, my former employer, was host for Social Media Day events there. That’s an area of 3 million people and a hotbed for any tech-related activity. The Register has changed in the Internet era as much as any daily newspaper, cutting staff and beefing up its online product.
In a blog post from OC, Register Publisher Terry Horne disclosed that the paper gets 20% of its revenue from digital sources, and that is expected to grow to 30% for next year. So, print STILL brings in more money than online. Makes sense, since in print, a newspaper can command more for advertising because it still has a monopoly in its geographic area. Online, there are no monopolies.
And here’s an interesting video out of The OC featuring Register business columnist Jon Lansner and social media enthusiasts Rochelle Veturis and Ted Nguyen.
But 20% is not a figure to scoff at, either. It likely is greater for smaller publishers and other smaller companies. For instance, online-only publication Huffington Post is estimated to be worth $60 million. But that pales to the market cap of The Washington Post ($3.76 billion).
So it seems the true value of social media at the moment is for individuals to connect with each other, and for businesses to promote themselves and get consumer feedback. In Atlanta, Newell Rubbermaid has some 80 people devoted to social media, and director Bert DuMars admitted that social media has totally changed the culture at the company, since every customer can sound off online.
For a small business, it’s THE lifeline. Atlanta-based radio host Clark Howard says he gets more revenue off his Web site than from his syndicated radio network. And Atlanta Real Estate Forum, handled by Flammer Relations in Atlanta, is the area’s top real estate site.
Of course, social media use will grow among all companies. There’s money involved, right?