Social Media: To What End?

Posted by on June 11th, 2012

As a recent college grad and product of the 1990s, I considered myself something of a social media expert—Twitter is where you learn about the latest celebrity feud, LinkedIn is where you publicly gloat when you finally convince someone to hire you and Facebook is where you stalk your boyfriend from middle school. (He has a new girlfriend and they seem very happy together.)

But over the course of the four months I’ve spent working at KCSA, I’ve started to think about social media differently. It turns out that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social channels can be used to share more than adorable videos of babies and dogs.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far – by using social media tools to establish a digital brand, you can add value to your organization by…

  • Making the company, brand or organization a thought leader in the space. Think of social media as a microphone instead of a teleprompter – it won’t spontaneously confer credibility, but when optimized effectively it gives a brand a voice. Experts at a company can position themselves as thought leaders, which will ultimately raise awareness and contribute to the growth of a brand.
  • Learning about your consumers / audience. Who is a fan of your page? Who quotes your messages? Who re-posts your images? The posts that get views, likes and retweets matter. “Listening to the consumer” is always best practices, but now the scope of client interaction is expanding and companies are privy to more effective (and quantifiable) ways to see what the consumer ‘likes.’
  • Developing a following. By proactively building hype, amassing fans and engaging them in the conversation, brands can quickly and easily activate that base when it’s time to create a call to action.
  • Directing (and contributing to) the larger conversation. A brand is about more than the products it sells and the services it offers; social media provides an entrée into the larger conversations that ultimately drive people to an organization. A taxi company should be invested in talking about construction updates, greener fuel technologies and new safety features as they are in disseminating self-promotional content. 

I’m learning that social media can be a powerful professional tool and contribute to the growth of businesses and brands in meaningful ways.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great way to stalk your boyfriend from middle school, too.