Social Media – better together than apart?

How Social Media created the global community and built an entirely new business model.

Social media, is, in its most basic form, a way to connect with the world in a much bigger way, creating a global community – where like and not so likeminded individuals can collaborate together. So, how did social media create a global community?

In the not-so-distant-past, prior to the internet & social media, you connected with people by mailing a letter, placing a call on a landline, or once upon a time, sending a carrier pigeon. In-person connections could be made in the grocery store, at church, at work/ school, or out in the community. Social media has created openings not only where we connect and communicate but how we connect and communicate; no longer trapped in our niche areas, we can find people, resources, interests, news and more directly from the source from anywhere in the world.

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Tumblr – what are the differences between them? Or, more importantly, what are the similarities? Some sites are used for entertainment, some are used for work, some are used to advertise – how you use social media changes based on your specific needs – ultimately though, all sites build toward a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a togetherness not seen before its advent.

While many of these connections create positive engagement, some do not – creating dangerous or difficult situations for vulnerable communities. Today we will focus on how businesses large and small can create community engagement using social media.

No longer content to simply interact as a website or physical space, businesses are looking to build their brands by engaging with customers and potential customers on social media, particularly as they look to grow beyond local borders. Unless it drives people away or causes a media meltdown – there’s no wrong way to build a relationship with your customer and community base – you can have as much fun (or as little!) as you’d like!

A recent tweet from Wendy’s Twitter

Some businesses, like Wendy’s Restaurants, use their clout (influence) with humour, creating an edgy but wholesome brand on brand war, with the intention of being retweeted because they’re funny, not meanspirited like DBrand. Others, like Lowe’s, use their platform to showcase new product, offer influencer inspired projects or contests, reacting to customer complaints or concerns, but not interacting with other businesses. Yet others use social media simply as another marketing tool; as long as the message the brand wishes to send is being sent out, social media can allow businesses to hit their target demographics, in far broader markets, than traditional media marketing types (flyers, commercials, radio ads).

A recent Facebook post by Lowe’s Canada

Business and big brands aren’t all that use social media to shape their image – many celebrities do too.  Misha Collins uses all his celebrity and social media to advocate for social justice, engage with fans and to sell his own projects. Another famous social media user, Chrissy Teigan uses social media to build her career by creating interest in their personal lives alongside their projects.

A recent Misha Collins tweet

All these approaches have merit, drawing attention to what the poster wants, not just in certain postal codes or regions, but across the globe.