Social media has become one of the most powerful tools in our everyday lives.
There is now over 2 billion active users on Facebook, 800 million on Instagram and 330 million using Twitter . Most people check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as soon as they wake up and normally it's the last thing people check at night. The power of social media has both positive and negative effects and can be used responsibly and irresponsibly. We have seen the rise in businesses using social to interact with clients and politicians such as Donald Trump and our own Taoiseach Leo Varadkar using them to connect effectively with their electorate. Recently though I found the positive in social media, when I was on the other side of Europe thousands of miles away and my dog disappeared from the home boarding where he was staying. I'm pleased to say that my faith in humanity was restored as was my dog, more on that later though.
Businesses using social
Social media can be effective for every type of business, the platform you choose though is important. I use twitter for finding out information particularly in resolving issues with products and services which are usually resolved quickly through direct messages and also finding details of delays or traffic jams before travelling. I am not a regular Instagrammer #not a fan of filters #need them though.
Here in the studio we love social and we use it everyday and you will find our blog posted regularly and photos on instagram of things happening in the studio, we also love doughnuts and are are lucky to have Offbeat quite close to the studio. We get quite excited when a promotion or new doughnut is launched and one of us from the studio is usually in the queue and where do we find out about it? Usually Facebook or Instagram. Would we be as excited for a flyer in the letterbox or a billboard, maybe but reality is you get a potentially global audience followed by sales by investing resources in social with people commenting, liking and sharing posts and it is far more environmentally friendly.
We also took part in the #fillaluas campaign before Christmas, the traction on twitter and Instagram that the campaign garnered was heartwarming and while putting a shoebox together was not an individual big effort, the collective result brought a bit of happiness to a large amount of deserving people.
Over the last few years my posting on social media has declined, however I did announce to all my Facebook Friends of some life events and checked in to places with friends and family, but apps like messenger allows me to regularly catch up with friends that are both a few minutes away and the other side of the world in Australia with practically no cost, which up until the last few years was beyond comprehension and was a call you made now and again instead of a potential daily occurrence .
More and more these days we are seeing terror attacks and extreme weather events and natural disasters. While I have not known people in all events it was a relief to see people I know mark themselves as safe and being able to follow up with a message to make sure they were ok.
Just after Christmas was a pretty scary time for me and my family, we were in eastern Europe, I got a message to let me know my dog had gone missing from the dog minder. People might think I am odd but my dogs are part of my family, we scrambled to get home taking multiple flights and my first instinct was to get the word out on social about him. I posted to community groups, vets, local politicians, supermarkets and hotels in my local area and the area he was last seen. To say I was overwhelmed by the response is an understatement, as soon as it was posted people began sharing, I got private messages from people offering help in searching, phone calls and overall my post was shared hundreds of times. Being on the other side of Europe left me feeling limited to what I could do but social media and in particular Facebook allowed me to get my message out there. Luckily our family was reunited with our dog after two and a half days in perfect health.
Social media is growing and evolving at an enormous rate, of course it gets tedious watching the same cat being evil video (sorry I’m a dog person) or the guy on the news slipping on the ice but social media is a powerful tool that more and more business and personal users are utilising. Over 2 billion Facebook users (and growing) shows that there is no stopping it. I for one am grateful to the social media community and will continue to browse, like, share and comment.