50 minutesFifty minutes is a lot of time. In fact, when you consider that the majority of our 24-hour day is spent sleeping (8.8 hours on average), 50 minutes is one-sixteenth of the time that we’re awake and active. While there are numerous ways one can use those minutes, many of us are spending them on Facebook and its associated platforms including Instagram and Messenger. At least that’s according to Facebook, which just announced the metric along with its extremely strong first-quarter results.

Not that long ago I would have been surprised to hear that number, but a recent national media tour I helped arrange and manage showed me that 50 minutes of Facebook time a day is very much a reality. For almost half of the national media outlets we met with, there was a request for a Facebook Livestream, with all of the live events lasting 20-30 minutes on average and attracting thousands upon thousands of viewers. I saw firsthand the popularity and influence of this platform and had a mini-epiphany on the role it will continue to play in communications programs — especially as Facebook and its peers work hard to get us to spend even more time with them.

As platforms like Livestream become more targeted and popular, communications professionals need to view them as important and highly credible opportunities for visibility and exposure. The reality is that more and more traditional outlets are prioritizing these platforms to effectively reach their audiences — in some cases, favoring them over their websites. Just like a decade ago when we had to educate ourselves and clients about the value of moving from print to digital, now we must educate about the value of using targeted social media platforms. Ready or not, more and more general and business audiences are consuming media through these channels, and as communications professional we must be prepared to leverage them as integral components of modern, strategic communications programs.

­­– George Sopko

Image via Unsplash