Chambers continue to make a shift toward digital formats when it comes to communicating their message, but seem to hold on to printed directories and maps for steady revenue, according to the latest W.A.C.E. opinion poll.
This year’s survey showed a continued high use of digital formats like social media and e-newsletters with printed maps and directories still popular among two-thirds of the chambers that participated in the survey. Just over 40% of chambers reported having a printed newsletter or magazine.
“Based on the data, it’s clear to me that chambers are trying to cut printed publications from their tool box, but their ad revenue is tied up in these formats,” said W.A.C.E. Vice President Russell Lahodny. “At the end of the day digital platforms are, generally speaking, free to incorporate while printed materials have a hard cost. Unfortunately, I feel more chambers are making the decision to cut print based purely on their budget and not on the effectiveness of the formats.”
Participants were asked which format was their primary tool when communicating with their members. E-newsletters continue to dominate in this area, with more than 70% of the responses, but are losing ground to social media, which increased from 14% last year to 17% this year.
Each participant in the opinion poll reported the use of Facebook at their chamber. While Twitter and LinkedIn still have high use among chambers, both platforms are declining in popularity. On the other hand, Instagram has seen a significant increase in use and has taken over the second spot on the list of platforms most used by chambers.
“By nature, Facebook and Instagram are better fits for chambers. On the other hand, the amount of content coming through on Twitter is overwhelming now. It’s harder for organizations to stand out and engage with their audience unless they are putting a lot of content out there. I have seen more chamber Twitter pages lately that haven’t had activity on them in over a year,” Lahodny said.
“The key is what content chambers are sharing,” Lahodny continued. “A lot of chambers are always promoting events through their social media accounts and not providing valuable content for the community.”
Survey data also showed an increase in the number of chambers livestreaming content on social media. More than 40% of chambers are now providing livestreaming video content to their followers.
“If chambers want to be viewed as innovative and a hub of information, we need to embrace the technology that is available,” Lahodny said. “The great thing about livestreaming is everyone can do it. If you have a smartphone, you can live stream.
“The bottom line is, there is no wrong way to do it. There are a few things you can do to increase the quality, but the nature of livestreaming is that it is a raw, unpolished format where you are just communicating with your audience.”
For full results from the opinion poll, visit waceonline.com and click on “Search Past Opinion Polls” in the members only section.