By Tara Pringle, PR Professional with the Cleveland Foundation
Social media can be viewed in two ways.
You can view it as a complimentary form of communication. Fun to play with for a while, but it won’t be replacing your cell phone any time soon. It might be helpful, but who wants to communicate with their loved ones solely through 140-character tweets?
Or it can be seen as the new way of communicating. Similar to how, if we needed to contact someone years ago, we can choose between a phone call and an e-mail. Now we have more choices. We can call, text, e-mail, leave a Facebook message or use its chat feature, AIM, you name it. All of the new choices allow you to have a voice, with the immediacy you choose.
Either way it goes, social media is a powerful communication tool that is here to stay. Despite cries that these sites don’t generate any revenue, they still pack a lot of power in a realm that is still pretty much undefined.
Twitter is positioning itself as a global water cooler with its recent site changes. Anyone wanting to know what’s being said about you, your organization or any event can easily type in the search term and get hundreds of bits of information. A principal at a school can see how people view the new uniforms the district is requiring students to wear. A small café owner can see what the new trends in breakfast are. (People still post a lot about food.)
Facebook is still figuring out where it wants to go, but if listening to its CEO is any indication, the company wouldn’t mind being number one in everything.
Organizations should care about social media because it gives them a direct link to the consumers and general public that used to take a well-timed, well thought out pitch to the local media. Of course the local media (TV, radio, print) is still valuable, but social media gives you the chance to put out your own message, to have people hear your news straight from the source. Then it spreads organically.
The main point of social media is that it’s evolving faster than we can define it. The Twitter of 10 years from now will probably be unrecognizable of the Twitter of today. Or maybe it won’t even exist. Maybe there will be a new website or a new tool that helps us communicate. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called, but rather how well it works in keeping us connected in the manner we choose.
Organizations Using Social Media in Northeast Ohio
Here are some great examples of Northeast Ohio organizations that are taking advantage of social media:
- Akron Children’s Hospital
- The Legal Aid Society
- Morton Salt
- Progressive Insurance
- Price Waterhouse Coopers
- Case Western Reserve
- United Way of Greater Cleveland
For more information…
For more direction and advice on how to use Social Media in the Workplace, check out ERC’s upcoming training event, LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter – Oh My! on August 26, featuring a panel of social media experts.