The Social Construction of Media: Social Media, Culture, and Everyday Life

Marketing and Entertainment in the Modern World of Social Media

How companies use social media to promote their products/business and grow
            In today’s world, technology has shaped the way that people do business with one another. Some advancements have been beneficial to business, others have made the process more difficult. One technological advancement that has had a much bigger impact on business than expected was social media. Not only has social media changed the way that companies interact with others, but it allows businesses to expand their reach to potential consumers that would never have been found using conventional advertising methods. Social media can be helpful to companies for three main reasons: to help the company develop its brand, to help promote the company’s products, and to collect data for analysis.
            Social media has changed the way that everyday people perceive any certain business. If a company is popular on social media, they will probably be received by the public in a much more agreeable way. For example, according to the University of Massachusetts, in 2012, 73% of all Fortune 500 companies had an official Twitter page, 66% had an official Facebook page, and 28% of those companies had a company blog. Having a presence on social media can mean many things, and how each company decides to display themselves online can completely change the way that people think of the company. For instance, some companies are super active on social media, while others might just maintain the minimum to ensure social acceptance. Either way, being involved with social media is a great way for a company to quickly grow its brand.
            As the social media trend catches on, some companies can choose to create internet campaigns in order to spread their products/ideas to a greater audience. These campaigns can range anywhere from clever advertisement placements, to a series of videos, to even just blatantly putting advertisements in people’s faces. Not only is social media a great way for the company to promote their products, but it also allows companies to push their products in other parts of the world. Because the internet is accessible from almost anywhere in the world, companies can create advertisements for other countries that might appeal more. While people in other countries may have heard of the company, advertisements on foreign social media sites can help to set in stone what the company does.  Regardless of how the advertisement is done, being involved in social media is a great way for companies to spread their products and ideas to potential consumers.
            Finally, social media serves one more helpful purpose that can be beneficial to businesses; data collection. Once a company is on social media, not only can they monitor how the public reacts to their brand, but they can also use it to find what is currently trending. Then, companies can use that information to adjust their own products and advertisements based on what is happening on social media. For example, if a company finds out that one of their advertisements had a lot of negative comments, they might consider taking the ad down, or changing it. Conversely, if a company finds that an advertisement is particularly effective, they might decide to use it more often. Of course, statistics from social media aren’t always to be trusted, so companies must decide for themselves.

Importance of creating social media personalities

            To most, social media is simply a place to interact with friends and share things like stories or photos. However, to many others social media is a place to create an online presence and personality. Online profiles allow users to control what information they share and thus control the personality of their online presence. This can be done by anyone, but is primarily a technique that businesses use.
            Creating an online presence and maintaining a single personality allows other users to feel like they can relate or connect to a brand. You wouldn’t open a store without a sign, or a restaurant without menus. Having a sign and menus are part of the personality of a business's physical location. Much like these aspects help create a consistent personality in the physical space, it is important to offer the same consistency in the digital space.
            Before starting any social media campaign it is important to understand your brand well and know what kind of personality you want it to have. “If you don’t know who you want your brand to be on social media, your followers (and potentail followers) aren’t likely to know, either”. Along with understanding your brand, it is also important to consider the consumer when deciding what online personality you want your business to have. It is important to begin by identifying what you want to be known for online, who your target audience is, and what types of content that target audience is most likely to find interesting.  

How to use entertainment/storytelling to promote a product

            Social media has created a new platform for entertainment. The website is a social media platform that is dedicated to sharing videos. Anyone in the world has the ability to upload a video to YouTube, as long as it isn’t inappropriate or illegal.
            This platform is a great example of a shift in where people go for entertainment as well as how people or businesses use storytelling to promote a product or service. GoPro is a company that has used the YouTube platform very successfully to promote their line of compact action cameras and accessories. The GoPro channel has over 1,600 videos, all filmed on the cameras that they are trying to sell. Videos posted to the GoPro channel are typically short, tell some form of a story, and aim to stimulate viewers. It is not uncommon to see GoPro videos shared across various platforms. Many of the videos posted by GoPro are consumer created. The company seems to always be holding a contest that asks consumers to submit videos filmed on their GoPro cameras.
            GoPro’s use of storytelling does a couple of things that make them a great example of using entertainment for marketing. First, their popular, share-worthy videos get their product in front of the eyes of millions of people and indirectly inform the consumer of the quality of the product and the footage it is able to capture. Second, GoPro’s videos don’t tell anyone to buy their product, they let the footage and the stories that it can create speak for themselves. Finally, the contests held to find user created content for their page creates a community of GoPro users. The customer is able to feel a connection to the company. This creates loyalty that may lead those customers purchasing new cameras that the company releases.

How social media can negatively affect businesses

           According to a study, 88% of respondents view social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of communication. “Social Media is more than a digital water cooler for TV and Movies”. Likewise, social media is used for far more than communication. Social media is a means of reading news, watching a game, spreading awareness of a situation occurring across the world, or becoming more socially aware. Social media has become a platform from which opportunity and knowledge is both shared and obtained. This ultimately opens the door to the rest of the world for the users.  
Today, social networking and music streaming sites are utilized with more frequency and greater capacity than watching full-length movies or television shows.

            - 8 Hours: Visiting social networking sites.
            - 8 Hours: Listening to music
            - 7 Hours: Watching full-length television shows.
            - 4 Hours: Watching full-length movies.
            - 4 Hours: Watching video clips (e.g. YouTube)
            - 4 Hours: Instant messaging 

            Social media has many beneficial aspects and has created a forum for the entire world to participate in. Although most of social media interaction is positive, there are negative aspects as well. The previously mentioned example of United Airlines shows that while social media is a great way to promote any business, improper social media usage can also negatively affect that business. Everything users do on a platform will forever be recorded on the internet, which can results in repercussions. This could include anything like posting a picture consuming alcohol that you may “delete,” yet a future employer finds it and denies you job opportunity.
            Recently, people have begun discussing the implications of social media marketing and how big of an impact it is having on a variety of institutions like the business sector. Sadly, not all of these impacts are positive There is also a dark side to this technology that involves business reputation. For a business to be successful it needs to provide a service that meets the needs of its patrons while meeting cultural and societal standards. In other words, with great customer service. Sadly, this is not enough to sustain success especially for a small business that is working its way up. All it takes is one unhappy customer to spread a review of their experience to their families and friends to ruin future business. Today this issue is greater because of the speed of information sharing that occurs thanks to the internet and to social media. Online review are important especially tied in with search engines because in today’s world looking up a business results in being notified of the business’ overall rating even before visiting the website or the business itself. The Yelp website is one of many sites providing reviews that range from one to five stars total, with one being poor experience and five being excellent. The problem with systems of review like this are that there are no checks to uncover validity of anyone’s review. An individual could have had a bad day and decides to write a scathing review about a business, though the review may not be true there is no way to discredit it either resulting in harm to business.
            One example on how much an impact negative social media can have on a business is a public relations disaster that happened with United Airlines. Some would say it’s a social media nightmare, but it definitely brings into perspective on how much impact and power social media can have on your business in a negative way. The moral of this story is saving $1,200 cost United Airlines 10,772,839 negative views, and counting, on YouTube.

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