Social media, although a relatively recent phenomenon, is becoming an increasingly important part of any business's marketing and client base development platform.
The perception of social media marketing has shifted in recent times. No longer viewed as a trendy or passing fad, social media has become a must for any business seeking to secure a place in both the traditional and digital marketplaces. What could once be accomplished by a traditional website now needs to be supplemented by a robust and responsive utilisation of the tools social media offers.
He highlights the importance of social media in the 21st century in the following question and answer session:
Q: For those not familiar with technology, briefly explain what social media is and provide examples of this phenomenon?
A: Social media are online spaces or sites designed to create communities, and promote sharing and engagement with ordinary web users and citizens. Individuals who sign up have a profile and can then add their voice to the dialogue. These sites therefore provide a place to express their interests, ideas and beliefs.
Q: Do you believe social media is a passing fad or here to stay?
A: Those who believe that the prevalent use of social media is a passing fad have clearly not understood the shift from analogue to digital technologies - and how smart devices, internet connectivity and the internet have radically shaped the way in which we live today. Social media allow anyone to have a voice online provided that voice is consistent, engaging and valuable.
Q: What are the benefits of social media?
A: Social media provide access to markets and audiences not previously accessible via traditional marketing and media methods. Data from research can be gleaned from insights using various social channels to understand your audience and structure the message to get maximum engagement. All social media channels ultimately encourage community building, storytelling and sharing.
Q: Can you outline the negatives of this phenomenon?
A: Social media, by their nature, are free spaces that allow equal access and sharing of information. While all networks enforce rules of engagement on sign-up, some online communities aim to bully, harass or mock targeted groups. Cyber-bulling and hate speech are common and many support, focus and education groups have been established worldwide to deal with this behaviour. There is also a tendency for young females and young adults to be lured by stalkers and paedophiles online.
Q: Do you believe social media will replace traditional methods of doing things - such as marketing and teaching?
A: Absolutely. A more correct way to state this is that social media will radically alter the manner in which marketing and teaching are conducted. Marketing activities cannot exclude online advertising in this age of new media and digital connectivity. In my opinion, traditional methods of teaching, learning and access to knowledge will disappear in the next 10 years.
Q: Do you believe social media education should be introduced to children at primary school level?
A: Yes. Social media tools developed for classroom use are used to engage students with lesson plans, create discussion groups, allow online learning with tests and learning exercises, and communicate with teachers. They provide a responsible way of using online media and tools, rather than banning their use completely. This is imperative.
Join MANCOSA Executive Education to broaden your marketing knowledge and skills, and learn how to harness the power associated with the social media phenomenon.
For further information or registration details, contact MANCOSA Executive Education on 031 300 7268 or by email at email@example.com.
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