5 Things You NEED To Know About Social Media

Social media platforms come and go, but some manage to last for more than a few months aka. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest; (RIP Friendster, Eons, Digg and iTunes Ping)! Many of us grew up with MSN or chatrooms but those are now a thing of the past and are only mentioned when reminiscing about the good ‘ole days, or watching “You’ve Got Mail.” Social media now plays an active role in our lives, as businesses are advertising their products and services, charities are raising donations for projects, and people are connecting with one another, all through wifi and (for most users) a mobile device.

Over the years, social media has been questioned, praised, challenged and appreciated, but why? How is it that some people hate social media and others love it? It’s all about how you look at it. Here are five things that you need to know about social media, to truly understand it’s power in today’s society.

1.) Social Media is a Tool NOT a Burden

Every month I host a social media workshop for those who are just starting out on social media, and for others who are more advanced and want to learn the tips and tricks of the trade. I meet some incredible people during these workshops, but I have noticed that there are two types of social media users; ones who embrace social media as a tool, and ones who see it as a menace that they have to learn to tame. The attendees who recognize social media as a tool are generally more eager to learn about how to grow their platforms, while the others become frustrated and give up on social media altogether.

No one says that y0u NEED to be on social media, but customers are changing. People were skeptical when the fax machine first came out, but now for many businesses the fax machine is an asset that they cannot function without (surprisingly). For those who see social media as a burden, its time to reevaluate your position and start learning.

2.) Social Media is for Everyone

Many people that I talk to believe that social media is only for the millennial generation. Did you know that baby boomers are one of the most active groups on social media, and the number is rising? Stop believing that Snapchat is only for teenagers and twenty-somethings, or that Pinterest is only for women. Yes, those are the main demographics but if you want to use these platforms, go ahead!

Last year, my 83 year-old grandfather signed up for Facebook and is now more active than my siblings (much to their surprise). No matter your age or interests, there is a platform that is right for you.

3.) Social Media is About Sharing and Connecting

Awhile back it was rumoured that all Facebook users would have to pay a monthly fee to access the network. When I heard this, I was a wreck! How would I stay in touch with my friends from India, Italy, school etc? My biggest concern was that I wouldn’t be able to chat with my friends online, and that I would have to resort to using email, (I know right? Total nightmare.)

For all that social media is known for, it is based on two simple principles. Connecting with others and sharing information. We share images, status updates, create company pages and post videos, but for what? To connect with people and share information. Yes there are privacy settings, algorithms, news feed preferences and the like, but start with the basic principles of social media and then grow from there.

4.) Social Media is a Conversation

When was the last time you texted or called someone, and never heard back from them? Sucks, right. You are making the effort to start a conversation and they are leaving you high and dry. That is how people feel on social media, when a brand doesn’t get back to them. We aren’t saying you need to write a huge message to those who RT your content or share your Facebook post, but a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

On the other hand, if your brand is called out online for poor customer service or an inappropriate post, DON’T HIDE! It will look worse if you never respond to these complaints or take them seriously. Social media is a conversation. Sometimes those conversations can be positive and sometimes they can be negative, but if you’re a business advertising on social media, you need to be ready to respond to either situation.

5.) Social Media is Fun!!!

The fifth thing that you need to know about social media is that it’s fun! Talking with friends, sharing amazing company news, connecting with industry experts and uploading images and videos are just a few things that you can do on social media to take advantage of these platforms. The moreactive you are on social media, the more you will enjoy it as soon you will be sharing articles, status updates, connecting with prospects and having an awesome time doing it!

So there you have it! Social media is a lot more than meets the eye. Whether you are using social media for business, or for yourself, remember to engage with others, share great content, and have fun!