Social media means different things to different people. Connecting with friends, liking and sharing photos of loved ones and keeping tabs on your local community are what many users on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are doing. Did you know social media can also help with increasing the awareness of your organization’s news? Leveraging social tools like YouTube and Instagram to quickly and easily distribute your videos and images is no longer a novel gimmick. Links to your news releases on Twitter and Facebook are now commonplace and some companies are doing this in lieu of using the costly newswires.

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Below are three ways that social media can help your news:

1) Distribution
More than a billion people are using social media regularly. Do you think company A has more subscribers to their email distribution list or more followers on their various social media channels? My bet is on the latter. We are now in an age that people are actually discovering breaking news on their social media feeds rather than traditional news outlets. Just check out this recent social media news survey. Organizations that are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. to disperse their news are reaching far many more people than a traditional means.

2) More than journalists
According to a recent social media news survey, 84% of responders are on social media a minimum of 1 hour per day. They are also accessing it equally from home and work. Gone are the days when content or press releases need to be pushed out at 10:00 EST on a Tuesday. Journalists and more importantly news consumers are accessing information via social media channels all day and night. This opens news up to everyone!

3) Same content multiple ways
Take one piece of news and use it multiple ways across various channels. You can post a video on YouTube, have a blog post on LinkedIn, send out various tweets using different calls to action, and try different subject lines with your email distribution. One piece of content can be used in many ways to make it more visible and sharable. As you use the various social media channels to reach different types of news consumers with variations of the same piece of content you will accomplish two important goals. You will save your own time, and reach larger and diverse audiences.

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While there are many effective ways to leverage social media to help your news, the above three ideas can be implemented at very little cost, spending very little time and achieve instant results. Consider using social media as a news distribution outlet for your company and you will see, eventually, that your network is increasing and will be more targeted than the traditional newswire approach. Plus you will be saving a lot of money with each and every news release, video and image that you publish.