Blog / Social Media – What’s the Fuss?

What an eye opener!

The instructor, Dannielle from Street Smarts Media Marketing, was first-rate; she really knew her stuff.  There was a dizzying array features and capabilities for each platform; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. There were advertising features, campaigns, automated posts, analytics, and management tools.  Of course, sitting-in for an hour or two at random didn’t teach me anything meaningful about how to use Social Media, but my agenda was different.

I wanted to observe others using Social Media in an instructor-lead environment – and learn the business-advantages to Social Media. Here are some things that I learned:

  • Social Media attracts different audiences.  By the way they interact with users and how they display content, they appeal to different demographics.  Facebook is for women, LinkedIn and Twitter are gender-balanced, Instagram is for younger audiences (14 to 21). Pinterest appeals predominantly to women.
  • Social Media for Business – done right – takes a LOT of time. Social Media done poorly takes even more time. Very few managers would want to approach Social Media without specific goals, plans and deliverables. This is true for government, non-profits and for-profits. Otherwise, you will find your Social Media coordinator loosing hundreds of hours in productivity and few results to show for it.
  • Tangible results are hard to pin down. Different platforms have their own performance yardsticks – followers, likes, re-tweets, views, shares; the list seems endless. There is also collaboration and competition between the platforms that further muddy the results waters. I’m not sure anyone can tell me how likes and followers translates into a relevant audience.
  • Social Media platforms change quickly.  It’s the wild-west of software development.  More than once, Dannielle stopped mid stream to comment “I haven’t see that before, it’s a new feature” – and Dannielle spends hours every day working with this software. Nor is there much in the way of a Help File that teaches you the mechanics of the new features and how they might apply to your specific need.
  • Social Media for Business costs money.  While the appeal to the average user is the free  access to these platforms, business campaigns that involve advertising and target audiences cost money.  Some classroom users spent $50 or more on just a few responses from their prospective audience. A proper Social Media campaign can make good use of management tools; Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule and Social Jukebox to name just a few.  Prices seem to range from $10 to $90/month for these tools. Add to this the cost of staff time, and even a modest presence on Social Media can add up.
  • Social Media IS Big Data. For the short time I sat in the sessions, it became very apparent that privacy was the last consideration on anyone’s mind.  Also, the management tools used to coordinate various Social Media accounts gather their own data about the user’s activities. In very short order, a complete profile could be built on any user; name, user’s devices , location, buying habits, product preferences, preferred social activities, friends, relatives, photos; there is no limit to this detail and history.  And of course, this is freely shared with other Big Data players without the user’s knowledge.  This to me is the scariest aspect of Social Media. Have you ever thought what would happen if the US Government nationalized Facebook?
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from my observations.  For our part, the sessions were very helpful. We’re now much better prepared to approach Social Media – I think.


Dave White 

Trinus Technologies Inc