By Hanan Alnufaie
MEDIA and information play a crucial role in imparting education and the pivotal role the former plays is to provide more knowledge and constructive guidance to as many segments of society as possible, Justin B. Smith, chief executive officer of Bloomberg, told Saudi Gazette after presenting his keynote address at UNESCO NGO Forum 2017, which concluded in Riyadh, Thursday.
Providing insights on the role media can play in combating terrorism and the position of the social media these days, Smith said, a lot of ideas behind terrorism are fake and helps in the “dissemination of false ideas and beliefs about religions.”
He said the best way consumers can do is to become much more sensitive to the brands that the content is associated with. “Consumers can no longer read headlines in Facebook or Twitter feed, they need to check the source and look where the brand is from and if it is a brand you know and recognize and it has a reputation for being good journalistic outlet. I think that’s how consumers can discern and relate to news,” he added.
In regard to the traditional media and how they can keep their audience, especially in the strong and evolving presence of new media, Smith believes that what traditional media can do is to surrender their entire business and their entire audience to social media.
“What matters is having a direct relationship with customers. Supposedly, it happens through social media platforms. Therefore, I always advocate is first to try to build a most direct relationship with your customers. At the same time do not ignore the fact that social media platforms are very important and influential and it reaches lot of people,” he said.
“We can think of social media as the broad and wide side of the funnel. In addition, you can bring people down and try to make them customers that are more direct. Social media is a way to acquire new customers. However, at the end of the day, the most value you get is from a direct customer,” Smith commented.
“Focus on direct relationship but at the same time, you can benefit from a relationship with your social media partner to drive audience,” Smith added.
He stressed that publishers and media owners must keep on fighting for their audience by creating great content, engaging the readers, capturing data on your readers, build business models around them and keep on motivating and operating in a clever environment.