What’s the Point of Social Media? (Blog 2)

One of my hobbies is playing music. It’s something that I do for myself mostly, but I do enjoy performing at events and open mics. I recently performed at an event in the market and the host gave me such great praise. I was proud of myself for landing this gig because it was a crowd of 200 people or so, the largest crowd I’ve performed in front of yet. But at the end of my performance, the host also mentioned that there was some media coverage of the event and that people were trying to tag me on Twitter and add me on Facebook. She told me that “I need to open up online if I want this [music] thing to work for me”.

 

Did I need to open up more online?…

 

Initially, I thought “Dammit. I need to reactivate it my Twitter account, delete any embarrassing tweets from 2009 and…maybe I’ll make my Facebook open too”. Truth be told, I don’t even know what I want to get from my musical performances, but I do know that I would not like to have anyone and everyone freely viewing my photos and posts. However, opening up on social media and being exposed to future gigs or shoutouts in a magazine were enticing thoughts. How did I want to use my social media platforms? I felt like I was either outside of the social media realm with my music and missing out on opportunities for gigs or I had to enter the realm and follow the rules and upkeep.

Having any presence on social media automatically creates a personal brand for your name

Luckily, music is mostly a hobby for me, so I can take more time to decide what path I’d like to take with it. But we’re all in this same situation when it comes to personal branding online and finding a job. We either enter the social media realm and try to follow the rules of what is appropriate or not, or we stay off social media and potentially miss out on employment opportunities. We are brands whether we like it or not.

Some claim that social media isn’t fun anymore. To an extent, I think this is true. There are more restrictions on what we should post now that employers have more access to our private lives.

Certainly social media can still be fun; you can keep in touch with family and friends, post photos and funny content, but what if I don’t want my employer to see that? Not because it’s inappropriate but simply for privacy’s sake. Sure, I can put on my profile’s privacy settings, but it’s said that even with privacy settings employers have their ways.  With this much monitoring, using social media sounds more like a delicate craft than anything.

Social media is more about behaving in case your employer does an online background check, and less about having fun and “socializing”. These days, an online presence is less authentic than ever; it’s tailored to possible employers when social media is typically used for friends and family.

 

What are your thoughts on how personal branding has shaped the way we use social media?

Should our employers use our online presence when considering us for jobs? Why or why not?

With such an emphasis on pleasing future employers, what’s the point of social media? To interact with family and friends or to create a good name for yourself?

Let’s get personal

 

Taco Bell responding to a customer's tweet.

Taco Bell responding to a customer’s tweet.

 

With social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, companies are now able to respond to the needs of their clients on a one to one basis and interact with other brands. 95% of marketers are on Facebook right now and companies are able to show their personal side while tending to the needs and concerns of their audience. Companies seem to follow a particular online etiquette when it comes to using social media as a means of customer service. In my opinion, this etiquette has more room for playfulness and social interaction albeit virtual.

I love that companies are able to show this personal side to their brand, however, I am not sure if it is always time efficient or necessary. There is one twitter exchange in an online compilation of funny company responses on social media that shows a series of puns delivered between a customer and Sainsbury’s:

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 8.02.54 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 8.03.02 PM
The exchange continued for about 12 tweets and the caption in the compilation says that research was done to find out that the particular customer loves puns. Then, for every pun that the customer sent the company would reply with another one. Sounds like a lot of work.

To me, as long as the banter is related to the concern of the customer and stays on topic, I think that this expression is great for enterprises on social media. I like to see the realness of companies being exposed; after all, businesses are made up of humans, right? I am also interested in reading about the strategies behind the online etiquette for enterprises. Perhaps companies wouldn’t view Sainsbury’s pun exchange as being time-consuming and unnecessary, rather it could be beneficial for the company.

What is your take on the playful interaction between customer and enterprise on social media? Is it necessary?

How could this online etiquette be better or worse for companies and customers?