Some beautiful music to inspire you whilst you read!
As a language and communication graduate, with a specific interest in communication and globalisation, social media has always held a fascination for me. However, it wasn’t until I started working for a digital marketing agency and managing social media accounts myself that I had considered I might get paid for ‘doing social media’.
But what is social media and how does it work for companies and brands who are starting to recognise it as an unavoidable part of their marketing strategy?
I have started this blog as a way of mapping everything I have learnt over the past couple of years and hopefully answering these questions. I am doing this partially for myself, as a way of keeping track of such a rapidly evolving media but also with the hope that I can impart some of this knowledge on others who are making their way through the social sphere, and who can learn from my experiences and trials.
I am by no means a social media expert (although who actually is?!) but I love what I do and I enjoy the fact that there is constantly something new to learn about and try. I have worked with some fantastic clients on some really interesting campaigns and I now want to record these experiences and understand how social media has affected us.
From the early days of msn chat to the launch of Facebook whilst I was at university, I have constantly involved myself in social media channels and watched with interest in the way it has shaped the way we communicate as individuals and as a global community.
Social has made communication instantaneous, informal and in demand 24/7. Before, you were lucky if you had 10 to 15 close friends who you stayed in touch with regularly. Now the average Facebook user has over 150 friends across the globe and we all have constant access to every aspect of our ‘friends’ personal lives.
But what truly interests me, is the way the social sphere has empowered us as societies and consumers, giving us a voice that was previously unheard and forcing those in power, whether governments or big brands to listen to respond to what societies and consumers want.
Social media is predominately user generated and allows people to share information with an ease and speed never seen before. Information is available at our finger tips and can be categorized, tagged and shared in seconds.
There is currently no way of avoiding it or controlling it and in the space of just a few short years everyone from politicians to police have embraced this new media to impart information and get their message across. Spending on online media advertising has increased at a phenomenal rate over the previous 5 years, in 2009 with the global economy crashing, marketing budgets across the board were cut massively and for marketers, the opportunity of the essentially free advertising space presented by social media was compelling.
For me, social media should be about providing a platform to aid user generated content and communication where everyone is equal, there is no status quo and information can be shared easily and for free. It has allowed smaller companies and causes to reach a mass audience they would previously have been unable to engage with. From a purist perspective, social media has allowed a two way dialogue to exist between the masses and those in power that has made companies and individuals have to work for respect and open to criticism in a way that never existed before.
The social sphere is arguably owned by no one but the online communities who use it, and as this has exploded it has become a fight for a share of voice in a noisy and highly populated environment. Agencies and marketers are having to think outside the box and provide more and more innovative solutions to dominating the social space and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have succumbed to advertising in a way never before seen. Ads can be tailored to unbelievably specific demographics which are then only shown on the pages of those who fit constraints outlined by the advert creator.
With brands, the media and marketers jumping on this new media how long will it remain pure and in what direction will it move? This is what I want to follow and find out.
Watch this space.