(Benjamin Fowles, 2018)
Social Media for myself personally has always been a sore point and a complete unknown. When asked if I have facebook or Instagram I would always respond with a unanimous "no," something almost totally unheard of being said by today's millennials. So what prevented me from using them?
Why say no to Social Media?
Being a late adopter of Social Media is about as accurate of a description as one could make, but it isnt due to unwillingness. Rather due to negative perceptions of the impact of social media on a person. Some examples of risks where these perceptions were generated from include:
People being more consumed or favouring social media interaction over organic communication and personable relationships.
The risk of diminishing the value of current relationships and the friend list problem.
Social Media Addiction
Security, the threat of fraud and Risk of exploitation
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Why say yes to Social Media?
Social Media however has become much more than a platform for communication, in recent years it has become the go to source for news, activism, advertising, consumer relationship management, event organising and even project communication. Keeping up is no longer about staying informed by reading your daily newspaper, communicating with prospects and clients is no longer as simple as sending a letter or a pamphlet. Instead of keeping up with clients by using a more traditional 1-way communication model, marketers are finding increasingly more success by using 2-way communication models that offer more options for the consumer to communicate; they can do this by using social media to engage with their audience.
Beyond its inherent ease of mass communication, it also offers many other benefits including:
Primary Research Generation
Do these benefits outweigh the risks though? That's a question that can be answered differently through the lenses of either the Marketer (Sender) or the Consumer (Receiver). Though there are both risks and benefits to consider when adopting social media, they are not each applied in equal measure to a sender or receiver.
For me, it was in the changing of position which drove me to adopt social media, as the risks were not presented to me as a sender and the benefits gained from deliberate social media engagement were more noticable. In the future I believe staying conscious of these risks is vital to maintaining a strong social media presence; especially as users become more aware of the risks themselves.
While social media is still the fastest growing platform for communication, it is still important to be aware of the risks and the concerns of the users. Many of those highlighted in a recent 2018 study of generation Z users (above), are those which I too have shown concern for.
Accounting for these in our strategy is not complicated. For example; the same study found that 65% of gen z users only follow a company's page to access deals or promotions, while 41% are also concerned about wasting too much time on social media. A savvy company can address these concerns by offering valuable content and insights that offer more than deals and makes the customer feel like they've learnt something instead of wasted time.
It's inevitable that consumers will become self aware of usage habits and choose to reject social media eventually. But as I discovered, it doesn't mean that it should be ignored totally. Being able to capitalize on the benefits of social media is essential for success in realm of marketing, but so is staying conscious of the risks involved and the concerns of the users.
Dukart, B. (2018, May 3). 20 Important Benefits of Social Media Marketing Every Business Should Know. Retrieved from CoSchedule Blog: https://coschedule.com/blog/benefits-of-social-media-marketing-for-business/
Facebook inicia ofensiva contra las noticias falsas. (2017, Feb 02). Retrieved from Chile Desarrollo Sustentable: http://www.chiledesarrollosustentable.cl/noticias/noticia-pais/facebook-inicia-ofensiva-contra-las-noticias-falsas/
Hutson, M. (2009, Jan 28). Facebook Friends: Too Many, Too Few? Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/psyched/200901/facebook-friends-too-many-too-few
McAteer, O. (2018, March 09). Gen Z is quitting social media in droves because it makes them unhappy, study finds. Retrieved from campaign us: https://www.campaignlive.com/article/gen-z-quitting-social-media-droves-makes-unhappy-study-finds/1459007
Sweeney, E. (2018, March 12). Study: 34% of Gen Zers are leaving social media. Retrieved from Marketing Dive: https://www.marketingdive.com/news/study-34-of-gen-zers-are-leaving-social-media/518867/