Social Media: Brand Marketing or Personal Enjoyment?

Our world today is dominated by technology, an overabundance of online social networks and conversations about the next big thing. Social media can appear to be a confusing blend of likes, tweets, retweets, snaps, shares, and pins, seemingly better suited for a middle school socialite than a business professional.Though whether we like it or not, social media marketing is an integral part of how brands spread their message and communicate with current and potential customers. Subsequently, tweets and shares become a promotional strategy and take on an entirely new context.

A very savvy professional and senior instructor with smith & beta, Matt LeMay - @mattlemay, once noted that our relationships on social media can be compared to people as cats dressed in chicken suits. According to LeMay, we are all normally cats, but we can put on a chicken suit and masquerade around as chickens in the digital world, if we so choose. With this analogy, Matt comically draws attentions to the discrepancies between who we are in real life vs. what we show people on social media.

So does an active personal social media presence make you a better social media marketer?

Our answer - not necessarily, but it helps.

One major question plaguing agencies is how to make the skills of employees meet the demands of their clients. We recently released a State of Advertising Talent Report ,which is comprised of qualitative insights and quantitative data from over 2000 advertisers. The results of the study show that only one fourth of respondents claim to have a strong grasp of social media.

So what is going on here? Are advertisers not on social media or do they just feel ill-equipped to lead the charge for their clients’ social media strategy? Since our data is self reported, we don’t have one exact answer, but we do have some suggestions for those who are frequently asking themselves how to bridge the gap between personal and professional social media use. First and foremost, being a personal user can be beneficial when deciding the best channel strategy for your brands. Additionally, here are some tips to learn more about social media platforms in the context of your job, without going too far outside your comfort zone.

  1. Be curious, download a new platform app on your smartphone and spend 10 minutes navigating the features.
  2. Find a friend or colleague who already uses the platform to engage you and bring you through your first experiences.
  3. Check posts from peers for inspiration. Explore how the professionals in your network are using the platform.

Luckily for employers, social media platforms lend themselves to personal exploration, an endeavor all employees can participate in regardless of their experience. However, personal exploration into the intricacies and nuances of social media platforms can only get employees contributing so far to brand marketing.

We strongly believe that institutional intervention, targeted teaching, and applicable opportunities to practice new skills unleash an employee's nearly limitless capacity to learn and grow - and contribute to your accounts. For agency and brand leaders, here are a few guidelines to ensure that your employees embrace and apply the benefits of organic social media acumen for your client projects.   

  1. Foster a culture of openness where employees feel comfortable asking peers for social media related insights, tips and tricks.
  2. Engage employees with company social media accounts to remind them of the narrative that you carry.
  3. Host formal training workshops with industry professionals who bring an outside perspective, providing time and space for employees to experiment and collaborate.

At the end of the day, social media is both a fantastic opportunity for brand marketing and personal enjoyment. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start snapping, sharing, liking, pinning, and tweeting!

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