In Memphis, we talk about “Big E” quite a bit. This nickname belongs to the musician known worldwide as Elvis. He’s not only talked about here but EVERYWHERE. How do I know this? I can see it on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ as well as other sites. Elvis has millions of followers, and he’s been dead for more than 37 years! Not that any of us are Elvis, but if a guy who’s been gone that long is still making the rounds across social media sites, don’t you think it might be fun to expand your social media horizons?
(image from Elvis Presley Facebook page)
Recently, I was asked yet again by someone, “Why should I be on Twitter?” My first reaction is always, “Why wouldn’t you be on Twitter?” It is my favorite - at least right now. Anyway, realizing that my first reaction doesn’t help anyone or answer the question, I started into my list of why I like it so much. I’m a news junkie. I like knowing what’s going on as soon as it’s going on, and I like getting information from first hand sources and sorting through to find the truth myself. I like reading all sides of a situation and forming my own opinion. I want more. I want more than I’m spoon fed from other news sources. It didn’t fly with this person. He gets all he wants to know from TV, and timeliness is not important. Well enough.
Different personalities and purposes of use have led to all sorts of social media sites. Pinterest is different from Twitter which is different from Snapchat which is different from LinkedIn… I still contend that there is a site for each and every person to play with, use, enjoy, and connect with like-minded souls from all across the globe. In fact, most are now using two or more social media sites according to Pew Research.
Other conversations I’ve had recently involved some ladies just wanting to follow people anonymously on different sites to see what was being posted. Well, ok. First, I’m not a fan of any anonymous social accounts. I realize this goes on all the time, and anything posted online is public even when accounts are locked. However, why really do that? These women are lovers of fashion, community events, music, travel, photography, animals, cooking, and have great information and tips to share. Use social media as you feel comfortable, but don’t cheat yourself out of the potential for making great human connections.
Still asking why you should be using social media and learning more about it?
Here are 7 “Big E’s” when it comes to good reasons to use social media. These E’s can apply whether you are a consumer (that would be ALL of us humans) or a business owner (also human). Think from both sides of the stage. Remember, the point of social media is to be social. Humans are meant to socially interact.
Stay up to date with not only the goings-on in your local world, but on the other side of the world, too. File this under #TheMoreYouKnow!
One of the most popular uses of social media that I see personally, is as a form of entertainment. Whether you’re watching a funny Vine, sharing an entertaining video to friends and family on Facebook, or retweeting Justin Timberlake, you’re being entertained and entertaining others via social media. It’s a nice stress reliever sometimes and let’s us all share a laugh at the same virtual water cooler!
Thanks for the great example Taylor Swift! It’s not always this easy, and we’re not Taylor Swift, but there are lots of social media campaigns out there looking to make changes. You may be able to cause change by just letting your voice be heard! Back to Miss Swift, who with a Tumblr was able to prompt Apple Music to change a significant business decision important to new artists and those hard working individuals in the music business. Apple responded on Twitter. Eddy Cue is Apple’s Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, by the way.
Use social media sites to let businesses know what you like about them. It feels good to use kind words! Business owners are touched when someone takes the time to like or follow them and even more so when you leave a positive review on their Facebook or Google+ pages or retweet or tag them on Twitter. Follow a company you like on LinkedIn. Post pictures of food, products, services you enjoy on Instagram or Pinterest and tag the company. We all benefit from online reviews. On a personal note, be a friend and encourage someone today. It’s a great way to use social media!
Regardless of whether or not you are searching for a job, social media is a valuable way to put yourself out there to be found by companies. It’s also an important tool on which businesses establish their voices and show their company cultures. Potential employees or business associates are interested in seeing what it might be like working for or with you.
Social media has become a necessary and valuable tool when an emergency situation arrises. Cities, government officials, institutions have all been able to disseminate important information across Twitter and other social media sites to reach a community that is more than likely searching for the most up-to-date information.
Finally, it’s enjoyable to just be social. Sometimes it’s just fun to see what your friends are up to no matter where they are! Staying in touch with family and friends is the primary motivator for people using social media. I adore being able to see all my college friends and their families even though we are now spread out all over the world. Fact is, if it wasn’t for social media, this wouldn’t happen. At least it wouldn’t happen at the frequency and ease provided by social media.
Remember, it’s not all about consuming information. YOU have something to offer. Social media is most fun when it’s a two-way street.
So, I challenge you to actively use social media. Be it a site you’re already on or a new one, start by creating a profile or becoming something besides an egg on Twitter. Use some kind words. Reach out positively to a favorite business on Facebook. Learn something new today. You never know with what or whom you might discover and connect. What's your favorite way or reason to use social media? What's your favorite site? Let me know. Let’s get social!