Social media have ultimately revolutionized the way we view the world in simply just a few years. From the way we communicate with our peers on a personal level to even how businesses market and advertise their products.
The growth of what many call the “social media phenomenon” has also affected our cultural position by transforming the way different social groups interact with each other, whether it be the daily hour scroll on Tiktok or those lovely Twitter rants on issues we are so passionate about. It is safe to say that social media has ‘altered’ our traditional way of communicating.
The age of the internet, and ultimately social media has empowered many, not only personally, but professionally. With the boom in social media, it would be ludicrous to think businesses would not jump on that bandwagon. Sciencedirect journal claims businesses look at technology as an effective mechanism to interact more with their customers. Social media as a marketing tool has only hit its first growth spurt in the past few years and companies are now learning of the potential it contains. Whether it be having Shops on Instagram or making in-app purchases on Facebook, the marketing and advertising of products has grown even closer to our fingertips than it already was.
For me as a digital creator and photographer, social media has been very beneficial as a marketing tool. Though I may not be “instafamous” I think my business and the ones I have had the privilege of working for have benefitted from the use of social media is many ways. This includes creating brand awareness, creating better customer service, and ultimately increasing revenue. Being an online marketer has also opened the door to several new job opportunities that never even existed several years ago. Just 3 years ago, I didn’t even think it was possible that I could quit my job as a banker to become a full-time photographer and social media manager. The developing realm of social media has made that possible for me and many others out there.
The Covid 19 pandemic has also taught us that social media can be extremely helpful for our daily communication means and our sanity, especially in a global lockdown. It made it evident how important it is for us to stay connected, and how social media has made that relatively easy. Also, social media played a vital role during the pandemic with the dissemination of vital medical information and the curbing of potential misinformation being distributed. Different platforms had their unique ways of dealing with the crisis, which again, showcased that social media can be a very beneficial tool, particularly in a world crisis.
Social media is also not only helpful to big brand companies but also to individuals in their garage with a bright ideas. That’s the beauty of social media, anyone can become “instafamous” with the right tools. The environment of social media has made it possible for normal users to gain a substantial following and become “influencers” themselves. These influencers have sometimes even become more reliable than name-brand companies. Of course, with this constant evolution of social media, businesses have learned to adapt, and quickly. They now target these influencers as “ambassadors” to help market their brands to their designated target audience. According to the Journal of Strategic Marketing, social media influencer (SMI) marketing is a strategy that uses the influence of SMIs as opinion leaders to drive consumers’ brand awareness, brand image, and brand-related behavior. In this context, marketers are confronted with choosing SMIs based on the origins of their fame.
It is safe to say that social media has its many perks, it has taken not only our communication with others to a new level but also how we interact with our favorite products. Nonetheless, with great power, comes great responsibility. Who is responsible for the way this phenomenon has affected society negatively? Who is responsible for cyberbullying and related mental health issues? The reduced attention spans? The reduced learning and research capabilities of our children? Increased antisocial behavior? Even the frauds, scams, and hacking involving our personal data available through these platforms? Should individual companies take the blame? Or is it us, the users who are at fault for “putting ourselves out there?”
Everything can be good, in moderation. Social media can be great, but it is important to remember we sometimes need to tune back into reality. Increased usage can cause addiction, antisocial tendencies, self-esteem issues, and even anxiety in some. Social media should improve our lives, not become our lives.