Social Media: A Changing Trend in Society
Social media is an important aspect of our daily lives, for personal and business purposes. But the type of user has changed dramatically, as is the way we are accepting and using social media technology.
No doubt about it, social media has a powerful impact and has changed the way we communicate (and do business) online. But it is also true that its use is dynamic and will continue to change, both from a technological/functional perspective, as well as psychological/behavioural. Being in touch (or even ahead) of such trends is key to yielding best results and maintaining a good reputation.
Online communications has been evolving since the very early day of the net. For us early users, we remember the days old; of bulletin boards, Netscape, mIRC, ICQ, MSN, and MySpace. During this time, it was only the more hardcore techies, ‘geeks’ if you will, that were riding this wave.
Once the Internet became more accessible and devices easier to use – laptops, mobiles, tablets, touch screens – it was adopted by a wider cross section of the community; even our oldies! Google searches became the norm, and social media platforms the main place to talk, share info, and gossip. Simultaneously, business via these communication channels grew phenomenally and became a must.
By now, almost everyone you know is on social media, with many across multiple channels – each having their favourite platform, in many ways depicting their personalities and/or lifestyles. Even those that are not so ‘active’ on social media are on there, and at least occasionally do their ‘scan’ or some sort of activity here and there.
More People on Social; A Changing Tide
So there is a large audience out there on social media. But at the same time, because almost everyone is now involved, the dynamics and psychological complexities of communication and ‘norms’ have also changed.
Much like travelling. When you travel alone its easy, efficient and as you want. Travelling with another person – like online peer to peer – is also quite easy and enjoyable. But add more people to the mix and things get complicated. As they say, “Two is company, three’s a crowd”; the more heads, the more ideas, the more issues.
The same holds true with social media. There are now all sorts of users. Many of who do not fully (or at all) comprehend online etiquette and likely annoy other people. I was just telling my dad the other day, stop writing your posts and comments in all caps as this means you’re shouting! His response was, “but it’s easier for me to read”. Meanwhile, we all have contacts who overdo it, posting every hour or more on every step of their day, and commenting on almost all other posts, or now more recently, hash-tagging every thought and made up phrase! Well and truly considered now as social media ‘spammers’.
Thus, because the type of social media user is growing and changing so drastically, so too are behaviours. Inevitably, this then creates a backlash and ultimately turns other users away; or at least not using it so much or in the same way. Also, because we are quickly realising how our privacy is diminishing and might be negatively impacting our lives, further concerns and security issues are being raised.
Social media must, and will quickly adapt to these growing concerns. Whether the same channels changing their approach or settings, or entirely new platforms that better accommodate the flavour of the times.
As a business, you should also try to take a more thought-out and systematic approach to managing social media channels, and communications in general to reach your targeted audience. We stand by our motto of keeping it simple (KISS model of marketing), and not overdoing it. For instance, a few good quality posts every so often on Facebook is much better than posting so much (spamming even) to try and increase your exposure, but annoying people during the process.
Remember, once someone un-follows your page, it is almost impossible to get them back. Meanwhile, a negative thought to your brand is also not such a good thing.
Of course it goes without saying that creativity and uniqueness is also a huge bonus with your social media activity, keeping people interested, excited and better informed.
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