Blog post 4
Jordan Danger Kent
Unexpected Social Media: Ways that social has evolved
Social media is ever-changing as people find new ways to bend the rules and push the boundaries of their experience. A few examples stick out for me as particularly interesting:
Viral hashtags is an interesting phenomenon, especially as—on Twitter, where they originated—they were an accidental bit of code. Hashtags were not carefully programmed into Twitter, but were truly a surprise to both users and developers alike.
Viral hashtags happen anytime, anywhere. What’s interesting about them is that there are many brands who will get on board and participate. This shows a shift in the marketing paradigm: ad campaigns were once carefully considered before anything would ever be released to the public. Nowadays, social media managers have a certain amount of freedom to think on their feet and find clever ways to jump into these thematic discussions.
Tying in nicely with hashtags is the phenomenon of realtime advertising. When the blackout occurred at SuperBowl XLVII, many brands were successful in quickly posting meme-style shareable images on social media channels to show their humorous side relating to the mini-crisis. What many people do not realize is that this realtime advertising has become part of many company’s strategic plan; for instance, Oreo’s timely and funny blackout ad was actually prepared well in advance. Oreo had a team in a ‘war room’ who had pre-made promotional material for every possible SuperBowl surprise and crisis. Gone are the days of planning print ads 8 months ahead of publication; marketing moves at the speed of people now.
DIVIDING BRANDS AND OWNERS
Unexpectedly and almost counterintuitively, social media has allowed some high-profile company owners to actually separate themselves from their brands. It was originally thought that social media would make every business owner synonymous with their brand, and that any social media channel an executive used would be mentally tied back to their business. However, we’ve seen many famous business owners manage to define themselves independently of their companies. Donald Trump and Sir Richard Branson are great examples: these eccentric and often offensive men have managed to develop their own online voices that, despite some very contentious or offensive comments and opinions, have almost no effect on the value or sanctity of their company’s brand. Compare that to traditional media, where any comment shared by a reporter was immediately seen as representative of the executive’s company itself, and you can see the shift here.
Social media continues to surprise us daily, and I’m curious to see what happens next.