Whether it is a C type corporation, a non-profit, a small locally owned business, or even a school club – today, it is essential for all organizations to have a social media presence due to the North American public’s increasing reliance on mobile technology and engagement on certain social media sites (“Social Media Update 2016”).
Figure 1: Pew Research Centre Data on American Adult’s Facebook Use (“Social Media Update 2016”)
In terms of larger corporations, social media and networking sites allow massive conglomerates such as McDonald’s or Coca-Cola an opportunity to somewhat ‘connect’ on a personal level with their clients and customers. Successful instances of this are Twitter accounts and Facebook pages which allow customer service representatives to immediately engage with customer reviews and comments. When these engagements employ wit, humour, and even incorporate a meme reference, they have the potential to go viral, which increases the company’s reputation as a knowledgeable social media organization.
In terms of smaller, locally owned business, a social media presence can be as small as understanding the importance of Yelp and Trip Advisor engagements. Having real customers review real places conveys a sense of intimacy and experience that is not attainable on more curated social media platforms such as an Instagram account or a Facebook page. In the tourism industry, it is essential for businesses to attract customers and visitors through these trusted social media sites, rather than relying simply on foot traffic and word of mouth. To further the success of their social media presence, these organizations would be smart to engage thoughtfully with customer reviews on their sites, both negative and positive, to demonstrate their commitment to customer service and hospitality.
A social media presence does not necessarily need to be external – many large organizations benefit from the internal use of social media and networking sites to connect employees both across the organization and in a hierarchical manner. The same advantages of engagement with customers can be transferred to an engagement between a lower employee and a CEO – engagement communicates a commitment to employee’s job satisfaction while working towards the organization’s overall goals. According to Pew Research Centre, large shares of employees who use at least one social media tool for job-related purposes see certain positive or beneficial impacts on their job performance, in both networking, opportunity, and connecting with experts in their field (“Social Media and the Workplace”).
While personal contact will, and should, always be considered the primary method for engaging with customers and employees, a social media presence allows for any type of organization to expand engagement efforts and foster online interactions that would not otherwise be possible.
Greenwood, Shannon, Andrew Perrin, and Maeve Duggan. “Social Media Update 2016.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Pew Research Center, 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 June 2017.
Olmstead, Kenneth, Cliff Lampe, and Nicole B. Ellison. “Social Media and the Workplace.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Pew Research Center, 22 June 2016. Web. 26 June 2017.