public relations · real time marketing · social media

The Good and Evil of Social Media

In 2015, it is almost odd if someone is not present on social media. Social media has moved past being just a past time for people. It is almost necessary to have to effectively communicate with people now, and that goes for companies too. I especially think that companies should be active on social media. If a business is not on at least one social media platform, “what are they doing with their brand?” is a question that comes to my brain. At the very least, a brand should have a website and in most cases a Twitter or Facebook. Instagram and other social media platforms are a bonus.

Social media has shifted from mostly personal use to companies using it for marketing and public relations purposes. In the past couple years, Real Time Marketing is something that businesses are taking and using to their advantage, or disadvantage if not done correctly. According to a recent study, 28% of our day is spent on some form of social media. Companies noticed this and decided to start focusing on social media. For example, during the Superbowl XLVII blackout, Oreo took advantage of the situation and tweeted a graphic that promoted the brand but also made light of the blackout situation. It was a major success and many companies decided to follow and hop on the “real time marketing” trend. If done incorrectly, it can backfire.

Photo: Slate.com
Photo: Slate.com

Social media can be extremely helpful in promoting a brand, but it can also do a lot of damage, sometimes causing legal troubles. What one business thinks is funny or entertaining could be taken completely wrong by the audience and cause a PR nightmare. In the midst of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal, a twitter hashtag (#WhyIStayed) began trending and DiGiorno tweeted a joke without knowing what the hashtag meant. In this case, DiGiorno did not benefit from their use of real time marketing. Of course, their brand was not permanently damaged but it created a small crisis all because of one tweet.

Photo: Social Media Today
Photo: Social Media Today

Social media and real time marketing can be extremely helpful but also challenging to be successful at. It only takes one post to cause an uproar. On the other hand, a well-written thought out message on a social media platform can be extremely beneficial. As social media and real time marketing continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how businesses adapt to the changes.

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