Friday, 22 January 2010

Social Media Opportunities

Since starting a master's in PR I have learnt more about the role of social media within communication strategies. Before I looked at Facebook as a communcation tool for a person rather than for a business, but now I understand how powerful social media can be in influencing and informing people. As social media platforms are used worldwide, there are great opportunities for companies which operate globally.

Companies can now communicate to a worldwide audience via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. A company such as Next use both these social networking sites in order to let their customers know of new the styles on offer and they upload pictures of these styles.

Video sharing sites such as YouTube have allowed companies to share videos of adverts and videos of how to use their products. Marks and Spencer adverts are widely available on YouTube, this enables people in other countries to view English adverts which wouldn’t be aired on television in their country.

Blogging allows companies to share information regarding their brand with people. This allows for two-way communication as people can post their comments and converse with the author of the blog as well as other people who comment on it.

While there are many opportunities for global brands using social media platforms, there are also threats. An example is the recent blogging backlash that Eurostar were faced with when some of their trains were trapped inside the tunnel. Many passengers used Twitter to talk of their experiences and the poor communication from Eurostar. Consequently, their reputation has been seriously damaged.

Any threats of social media to global companies are severely outweighed by the opportunities. The amount of users signed up to social networking sites is ever increasing and this allows for companies to expand on their existing communication strategies and reach a wider audience than ever before.

I know if I ever start up my own business I will definately take advantage of the use of social media.


  1. I saw the power of social media in a communications setting on my internship at Cambridge University.
    The PR team have set up a You Tube channel which promotes some of the amazing research work that goes on there. Being able to watch a film of a scientific discovery or an archaeological find really brings it to life and can only enhance the brand of the university as well as motivate potential future students to study there.
    They also use Facebook well as a community resource for students, alumni and staff.
    The downside of social media is that anyone who is disatisfied with something in a company or organisation can quickly link up with like-minded people through Facebook or Twitter and really cause problems for its reputation.
    The general feeling in public relations, however, is that corporate activities should be transparent and feedback should be encouraged from customers, employees and other publics.
    Social media is an important tool in making this happen.

  2. Some really positive points about businesses using social media as part of their communications strategies. Social media is a great channel to use as part of a company’s communication plan. It helps to connect, learn, share, listen and engage in a two-way dialogue that can help brands in many ways.

    I agree social media can enable brands to communicate globally, but I don't think it's as simple as that. There are so many things to consider when using social media for business purposes. Unfortunately it is as not as simple as setting up a Facebook and Twitter page. There are so many legal implications with businesses using social and digital media. Businesses should be aware of best practices, privacy polices, terms and conditions, and disclaimers to name but a few.

    Don't get me wrong though, I am by no means suggesting that businesses should not use social media, what I am saying is that they should be aware of protocols, legality and anything thing else they are unsure of, only then will they be able to use it effectively

  3. I agree with Sarah. There is definite professional and legal practice that needs to be carried out when joining a social network.
    I think the problem lies within the immediate concept of social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Many fan sites of brands are set up by individuals themselves, as well as the official corporate page. Companies must be aware of all aspects of using social media, and monitor what others are saying, as well as what is on their own page.
    It definitely is a fantastic way to communicate with the publics, but I wonder if the power of social site groups are being over estimated ? Most people tend to join a group and soon after, it will be forgotten about. That’s the problem with self indulging social sites, people are only interested in themselves.
    However, there is no doubt that this is working for big branded companies, but I wonder if the phase will die out sooner than later?

  4. Using social media and social network are good way to promote company brand or products. It is not only promotion, but also getting consumer's opinion. The key point is the firm could be flexible to adjust appropriately their step to satisfy consumer. To try getting more advantages by social media.