Social media has changed the way we live our daily lives. From Facebook and Instagram, to Twitter, blogs and other online interactive platforms—social media interactivity has shaped our current culture. In the work place, social media is especially relevant. Through social media, companies can build their brands, target large communities at once like never before, engage with multiple publics and share content on multiple platforms. It’s incredible to see how far social media has come in such a short period. I remember just a few years ago when social media coordinators were only just beginning to pop up in the work place, now I couldn’t imagine companies without a social presence and universities see the value in teaching their students social media strategy.
In my work environment, at Yahoo Sports, social media plays a huge role in in influencing and driving content. Every piece we work on, from editorial, to digital, has a social media element. I enjoyed Charest, Bouffard and Zajmovic’s article on social media and public relations (2016) and found it especially helpful when crafting this blog post. The authors discuss both building and dwelling mode in their article. We exercise these practices on an almost daily basis. Yahoo Sports often has content meetings involving video, editorial and social content teams where we pitch ideas and figure out how best use all three platforms. Social is an integral part of our content strategy. How can we make the viewer feel connected? What are the best ways to push our content? Social media is the fastest and most effective way to push content and drive the viewer to our site for deeper coverage. For example, say we’ve worked on a 30-minute documentary feature or an in-depth editorial piece. It means nothing if people don’t know how to find it or where it lives. We rely on our social team to provide a creative solution to raise awareness of the piece. Our social team will always cut a mini teaser for our various social media platforms and then link the video or article to social media post. See examples below!
However, social media isn’t just for pitching content and driving traffic to the site. Through social media, we can interact and engage with our community. In this example, the social team is using these two professional athletes as influencers of the brand. Charest,et a, describes a SM influencer as “someone who participates in the content and the conversations on various platforms by providing added value” (pg. 532). In this case, the professional athlete provides that added value in the first person. We can connect the viewer to the talent through platforms like Instagram stories and Snap Chat through questions and polls like the one you see below. Yay! More examples:
During Super Bowl 53, our content team focused on engagement and impressions through Twitter and Instagram. Below shows that during that week, Yahoo Sports amassed 16.6 million impressions. That number alone shows the wide reach and impact of social media.
When reading Charest, et al, I found that we often implement various listening strategies to better understand and engage with our publics. Charest, et al, mention the four I’s of listening strategy as involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence. Through the use of these four actions, our social media team can start conversations by encouraging involvement (i.e. question prompts, polls, etc). From there, conversations lead to interactions with publics which can then help lead to intimacy and legitimacy and that relationship then enables followers to identify, unite and reflect a positive association with the Yahoo Sports brand (pg. 532).
I see many of these social engagement ideas in action on a daily basis in my personal life. When scrolling through Instagram stories, often my favorite boutique post’s pictures of multiple outfits, asking you to select your favorites. In the end, they generate a list of your favorites with a link of where to purchase them. Another example in my personal life is using social media for instant analysis and reactions as a sports fan or when it comes to hot world topics (cough, Trump, cough). For the sake of less controversy, let’s take live games for example. Social media allows you to immediately react, re-watch big moments and read analysis. Additionally, I see the development of social personalities as a way to connect and engage with our audiences. Yahoo works hard to build its own talent personalities. People come to the site and view our social pages when they feel like they know us. Likewise, in my own personal life, I follow the people I feel like I can connect with. This connection transcends just the work place.
I think social media is highly applicable in today’s current business environment. The same theories and strategies can be applied to many different types of organizations. As stated above, when used correctly, social media can build brand awareness, increase cliental reach and engagement with a larger audience, build trust and loyalty and help drive growth.
Charest, F., Bouffard, J., & Zajmovic, E. (2016). Public relations and social media: Deliberate or creative strategic planning. Public Relations Review, 42(4), 530-538.