Social media allows people to freely communicate their thoughts and ideas on digital platforms across the web. However, to more specifically capture what social media fully means, Kaplan and Haenlein explains, “Social Media is a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content (Kaplan, A. M., Haelein, M. 2010). The authors refer to Web 2.0 as means for content to be supported, shared, and collaborated amongst others (Kaplan, A. M., Haelein, M. 2010). While user generated content refers any form of communication created outside of a professional atmosphere, adheres to some form of creativity, and serves a purpose (Kaplan, A. M., Haelein, M. 2010).
Since the start of social media sites, the platforms have evolved drastically and now offers multiple uses. One major change is the availability for advertisers to reach their consumers. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter now offer new ways for marketers and advertising professionals alike new opportunities to reach their audience. Because of this, social media platforms now offer user analytics that can track demographics of the consumers that interact with the brands. Ultimately, advertisers are able to pin point where their message is going and whom it is going to.
The Content Marketing Institute describes reasoning and the significance of these changes in regards to social media as (2015):
Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons. Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, and that there has to be a better way (site).
Brands are able to build positive reputation by creating a digital form of word-of-mouth advertising. Cohn emphasizes the importance of social media by saying, “Whether you are operating a brick-and-mortar company, or a more tech-heavy startup, thoughtfully employing social media can help you increase visibility, profits, and cumber of customers,” (Cohn, 2015)
I feel that people can interact with social media in a similar manner as brands. Users of these platforms, especially young professionals, should use these new platforms to build their own digital reputation. Benefit of this interaction, a person can build themselves in the same way a brand would. As a result, these types of user’s social media engagement and personal branding to hopefully gain a better job or land an interview.
Likewise, since this form of communication allows users to freely speak their minds without fearing repercussions, social media oftentimes becomes a platform for vents, rants, or unprofessional comments. This can be seen where people use Facebook to post party pictures or for the purpose of bullying others. These uses of social media often can be annoying to others and worse, appear unprofessional. Companies and hiring managers are able to see anything that is posted with enough effort. This can cost people their jobs as a result.
Social media is both a positive and negative. Ultimately it is up to the user based on how they interact with the platforms. Those that choose to build their network while practicing professionalism in their content can build their own self-worth and personal brand. However, the websites can negatively impact those who abuse social media by posting profanity or inappropriate post can possibly lose important career opportunities and be viewed negatively by others.
Kaplan, A. M., Haelein, M. (2010, February). Users of the World Unite! The challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/science/article/pii/S0007681309001232
Content Marketing Institute. (2015). What is Content marketing? Content Marketing Institute: Resources. Retrieved from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/
Cohn, C. (2015, January 23). How to Properly Use Social Media to Fit Your Business Strategy. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckcohn/2015/01/23/how-to-properly-use-social-media-to-fit-your-business-strategy/