It has become the norm for many, to see eyes staring down at phone screens on the tube, walking down the high street – practically everywhere! Nowadays where there is a phone, there’s a hand and face glued to it! Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to stealing everyone’s time and attention, yet we can’t resist to use it daily!
Although social media has an amazing way of connecting people, it can also have the opposite effect by making us feel more isolated than ever. Where we would have once met for a coffee or lunch date with friends, we are now sending a text. The convenience of catching up over a message or two has profoundly shifted the nature of human communication.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable how beneficial social media can be for businesses and marketing strategies. Instagram for example, has a huge following with some accounts reaching over a million followers. Now for someone sharing or reposting something from a small business, the backing of so many followers could completely transform their lives overnight. Social media is one of the few marketing strategies that allows you to connect directly with your audience. You know who is interested in your business because they choose to follow your social media account.
This social media advantage helps your business in numerous ways:
- You know your target audience better
When you know your audience better, you can deliver more valuable content to them. You can make the content more personalised to their interests which ultimately leads to more engagement on your page and with your business.
- You provide better customer service
A direct connection with your audience allows you to resolve issues easier. You can address them personally, deal with any issues on a one to one basis and build your brand in a positive light in the process.
- You gain a valuable insight about your customers
The direct connection with your audience helps you get to know your audience better. You see who interacts with your posts and how they interact with them. It helps you adapt your strategy to make it better for your followers.
- You see how your audience perceives your business
It’s always good to know how others view your business. With social media marketing, you know what your audience thinks of your company. This is a huge bonus because you can capitalize on aspects people like about your business and fix elements they don’t like. You’ll get insight from your followers and be able to adapt your social media strategy better meets their needs.
Social media used in the correct way can be amazing and an example of modern technology which can benefit us all. It is when social media is used incorrectly that the negative side to this world can be seen.
- Increased Usage
The more time spent on social media can lead to cyber bullying, social anxiety, depression and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.
- Social media is addictive
When you’re playing a game or accomplishing a task, you seek to do it as well as you can. Once you succeed, your brain will give you a dose of dopamine and other happiness hormones, making you therefore, happy. The same mechanism functions when you post a picture to Instagram or Facebook. Once you see the notifications of likes and comments popping up on your screen, you subconsciously register it as a reward.
- Fear of missing out (FOMO)
FOMO has become a common theme, and often leads to continual checking of social media sites. The idea that you might miss out on something if you’re not online can affect your mental health.
- Self-Image Issues
Social media sites provide tools that allow people to earn others approval for their appearance and the possibility to compare themselves to others. It can be associated with body image concerns. The ‘selfieholics’ and people who spend most of their time posting and scrolling are the ones most vulnerable to this. In fact, research has highlighted a large percentage of young girls who use Facebook at least five times a day are likely to link their self-worth to their looks. That doesn’t necessarily mean social media is the main problem, it only provides a medium for it, which further elevates the problem.
- Unrealistic expectations
As most people know by now, social media forms unrealistic expectations of life, friendships and relationships in our minds. Most social media sites have a severe lack of online authenticity. People use snapchat to share exciting adventures, post about how much they love their significant other on Facebook and load their Instagram page with heavily staged photos. However, in reality, you have no way of knowing whether this is all a farce. While it looks great on the surface, that person could be in massive debt, on bad terms with their significant other, and just desperate for Instagram likes as a form of validation. What you see is not always what you get.
One simple way to improve such negatives to social media would be to promote the realness. We all have those bad days, so why don’t we see others bad days on social media? Let us share others emotions, be there for one another and surely we should then realise that is perfect world in fact, does not exist.
To conclude, social media is a platform cemented into our day to day lives, here to stay for the foreseeable. Therefore, we must implement measures to ensure we are using it responsibly for our own benefit. Take breaks from social media, meet up with your friends, schedule your posts to leave time to do things you enjoy, find any method to help balance the social media world to reality.