Enough with the Evils: The Power of Social Media

The average individual living in a city is exposed to close to 5000 images every single day. Just think about it- 5,000 images! Consumers are saturated to the brim and over with ads. To the extent, that they are almost desensitized as a result of this monotonous and homogeneous display of images.

Understandably, people walk past desperate attempts at handing out fliers with increasing ease. It’s no wonder why people come ten minutes after a movie’s scheduled starting time. The primary function of Smart TV’s appears to be very smartly forwarding past the ads.

Social Media and Advertising

With the onset of social media, ads are implicit in almost everything. Social media has mobilized and given a new form to the world’s oldest marketing method: good old word-of–mouth. A simple picture taken on a smart phone of a dish at a restaurant, edited via Instagram and uploaded on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr well falls within the definition of an ad. Yet, people don’t consider these newsfeeds as marketing mediums. Ironically, though social media is rated as one of the most effective forms of advertisement. It has given rise to a very different form of advertising; one which allows for dialogue and feedback about products, corporations and even politicians.

Traditional Media- Redundant or Not?

This is not to say that traditional media has no bearing on communications. Press releases, TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads hold their own against social media. They are often seen as a source of credibility and are essential to establishing and maintaining, reputation and image.

Advertising with a Difference

Where social media differs is in its provision of an informal and highly relatable setting for communication to occur. More importantly, this setting is an active one that allows for opinions, for example, individuality amongst homogeneity and, for perception and interpretation. Social Media embraces creativity and imagination.

Social Media- The Practical Solution

We’ve all heard the term valued consumer and valued feedback. Well, it’s safe to say that social media embodies these terms; not only valuing feedback but facilitating it. And with over a billion people active on social media sites today, that’s a wealth of information for corporations and organizations, which may in many instances, be more reflective of the population and demographics  than any research or survey could possibly be.

At this point, critics of social media would say that it intrudes privacy and increases risks of defamation. On the other end of the spectrum however, it is also necessary to emphasize that social media allows for a mechanism of self-regulation. With every irresponsible act in the use of social media, come criticisms, which most are eager to avoid, particularly on a public forum.

Young adults using their laptops to watch, ironically, TV shows at their convenience, is not an uncommon sight. Today’s rule is efficiency and accessibility. In a highly wired community, social media helps to strengthen relationships, in great part due to the demands of modern city life and the time it takes away from building relationships. Particularly with young people, by far the most important source of technology is the computer and by extension their smart phones, all of which are used to access social media. Why should this tool be limited to personal relationships? Social media can and is, by all means, increasingly being extended to the relationships between corporations and consumers, governments and citizens.

Integrating Social Media into Advertising

More traditional forms of media still remain imperative for mass communication particularly in corporations’ desire to establish credibility. Social media cannot do without traditional media. The relationship between the two is not that of substitutes but rather a complementary one. Social media enhances and amplifies the messages delivered by traditional media in a way that is both cheap and effective, a plus point for most corporations.

Social media is not without its risks but increasingly, these risks are being reduced. Why? To ensure the longevity of this obsession with social media. Social media is here to stay and embracing it is an imminent and necessary step forward for almost every organization albeit for different purposes.

Posted by Tara Kishin, PR Executive, Corporate Media Services

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