The Importance of Social Media

Written by Lauren Austin


Do you remember life before social media?

At 27 years old, I do. I remember starting my freshman year of college and a friend telling me I needed to create an account on a web site called “Facebook.” I resisted because I assumed it would die out like so many other fads, but, over time, the buzz and excitement over “friend requests,” “tagged photos,” "pokes" and other features lured me in - and today, social media has evolved into both personal and professional use, and I'm here to share the importance of it all.

The days of print, radio and other traditional media quickly diminished. Rather then calling into a radio station to request my favorite song, I would simply post a link to my favorite music video to Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks.

Since my generation created social media (Mark Zuckerberg was just 20 years old when he launched Facebook), we figured out how to use each network with ease - it was nature. My parents - and others in their generation - however, took far more time to grasp the fun and, more importantly, importance of social networking.

In fact, when social media started taking off, the majority of people in older generations shut it down. Many argued that providing that much personal information on the Internet could result in identity theft or, perhaps worse, could create or empower stalkers. Others just saw it as narcissistic. Likewise, many business owners resisted, insisting that participating in social media would prompt unhappy or jaded customers to post negative comments about them.

With time, though, individuals and business owners alike began to see that, if they wanted to keep up with the times, they would have to get on board with social media (or risk being left behind).

I am proud to say that I am a member of the generation that helped make social media the craze it is today.

Today, new social media sites pop up on a daily basis. Some take off and turn into thriving, multi-billion dollar companies (i.e. Snapchat and Instagram), while others die out because they aren’t trendy enough, or they simply provide little to no value.

Regardless, ALL companies need a social media presence and strategy if they want to continue to grow their business. The key is to be selective in which networks you choose to participate in and, more importantly, why.

To illustrate this point, let's examine some of my favorite social media campaigns in recent history:

ALS #IceBucketChallenge

With the #IceBucketChallenge still pouring in millions of dollars (literally), I am sure that anyone with a smart phone and Wi-Fi has grasped what a well planned social media campaign can do for a great cause. The #ALSIceBucketChallenge has raised well over $100 Million. Now THAT is value!

#NoMakeupSelfie

£8m!! RT to let everyone know that your #nomakeupselfie & other pics are helping #beatcancersooner http://t.co/LyOzrYWc6V
Cancer Research UK (@CR_UK) March 26, 2014

This campaign started across the pond. The #NoMakeupSelfie challenge was created to raise money and awareness for cancer research in the UK. Women were challenged to take photos of their faces with no make up on, and to post their photos across various social networks. This campaign was well thought out because it managed to incorporate the trendy #Selfie that everyone is guilty of trying at least once.

#100HappyDays

100 happy days

This is probably the simplest of the campaigns because it doesn’t require much effort to participate. The only requirement is that participants snap a photo capturing a happy moment of their day. Next, they were asked to submit the photo to MyHappyDay@100HappyDays.com. Pretty easy, right?

The creators of #100HappyDays wanted photos to be submitted to their web site in to keep the photos private. To their surprise, people felt so good about their happy moments that they began sharing them on social media. As a result, people not only submitted their photos to the web site, but posted their photos online with the hash tag #100HappyDays. This campaign is a great reminder that the true power of social media lies in the hands of the users, not brands and marketers.

#8Videos8Days

Remember Weird Al Yankovic? Neither did I. Until, that is, he launched his brilliant #8Videos8Days viral social media campaign upon the world. It seems like every social network I logged into I would see one of my friends posting his latest video. To help his cause, Weird Al even enlisted the help of a cadre of celebrities in the making of each video. 

Need help?

Here at Forward Digital, we know how difficult it can be to launch and manage an effective social media campaign. For that reason, we offer Social Media Marketing (SMM) services to any client who needs a little extra help to get things going.

We can strategize a campaign, create a social media content calendar, develop content, manage social engagement and everything in between. Let us do all the hard work - you can take the credit :)

Learning more about how you can grow your business by engaging customers on social media by contacting us for a free consultation!

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