Yes, the cover image of this page is a picture of Joan Didion with a smile photoshopped onto her face that I found on Twitter. It's my favorite picture to ever exist on the internet.
Sunday, November 7th, 2021
In your professional life, how have you seen social media ideas in action?
Back in my youth, a.k.a. two years ago, I was in an academic (unpaid…grrr) internship during my undergrad — my official title was the Events & Marketing Intern for the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design. I did everything from designing/printing/distributing marketing materials around campus to planning and assisting in event execution to creating content and managing the Schools’ official Instagram account (@uwsoa).
I was trusted with the beloved Instagram account because of the fact that I was not only young and up on the trends (*hair flip*) but also because I was an art student heavily immersed in the community that naturally forms when you make the Art Building your second home. When I first took over the account, I took an objective look at what I was working with and the biggest issue I noticed was that there was no cohesion and it was a one-sided relationship. It was acting like a digital bulletin board rather than an interactive forum.
After taking the wheel, I was able to revamp the profile feed with things like story highlights, utilizing the Instagram story more frequently, and creating more focused and eye-catching main feed posts. Through Instagram story posts and main feed posts, I was able to bring the day-to-day life of an art student at UW, a predominantly research/STEM institution, to the digital space and allow students to take over the account on occasion to give faces and personalities to the School. In turn, the concept of mediated interpersonal communication was able to develop and our online communication began to function as it would in a face-to-face environment and led to more interaction with the audience consisting of students, staff/faculty, alumni, and art lovers from all over!
Is social media relevant?
Social media is relevant if you want it to be relevant. It’s as simple as that. For me, someone who has always been intrigued and in the loop with pop culture and media, I think social media is relevant. But, just because I place a certain value on social media doesn’t mean that the person standing next to me does the same. Even if one has a presence on social media, they don’t have to find it relevant or important— they just exist in the digital space without placing any correlating value stemming from it to their person.
How does social media content influence the organization?
Social media can have the power to drive an organization to take a chance or move in a direction that they may not have or would’ve been fearful of in the past. “Social media triggered a shift in resources toward communicating directly with potential and existing customers through the use of online content” (p. 101). If an organization truly and genuinely cares about serving its customers in the most efficient and beneficial ways, an organization will take great influence from the great ability and insights that social media and digital spaces allow. They will take account of what content or products or types of campaigns customers are responding strongest to and keep that knowledge in mind for future planning. Also, it is becoming more and more common for organizations to cultivate their own personality (if you will) online through apps like Twitter and TikTok. The first brand that I remember doing this was Denny’s Diner on Twitter — inserting humor and social commentary to truly separate itself from every other brand sticking to the status quo of corporate social media. Now, in 2021, it is a common occurrence to go on TikTok, find a viral video, and see verified accounts of various organizations commenting and interacting with not only customers but also other brand accounts. Most recently, a TikTok user, Emily Zugay, went viral by making satirical videos of redesigning brand logos that she deemed ugly or unclear, and before she knew it, every brand you could think of was fighting for attention in the comments of her videos to be the next brand to get a redesign — a.k.a. get in on the joke. Something like this would’ve never happened without the influence of social media. In the current advertising/marketing/PR landscape, social media is queen.
What application do you think social media has in the current business environment?
I think that social media is currently the most valuable tool a business can have in their tool belt….if it is utilized in the right way. Many people who work in media (or members of Gen Z in general) can tell immediately whether or not a company or brand is good at representing themselves on social media. In the current social media landscape, influencers are the ones that we love to hate and hate to love…and they are essential to brand success on social media. Whether they are considered macro or micro, influencers are one of the most essential parts of spreading brand awareness to corners of the internet that traditional social media marketing cannot reach. When identifying influencers, a company/brand should be making sure the influencers are aligned with what the brand represents, as well as it being a mutually beneficial partnership.
The closest example I could give you is when I entered into a “partnership” (we’ll call it that to make it simple) as a micro-influencer with the underwear brand, Parade! Before working with them, I had heard of them but had never purchased anything. I knew a few girls from my sorority had done a social media post or two from them but it was nothing intense. Then, out of nowhere, one day in August I received an email from the Parade team. They had found my profile on Instagram and wanted to know if I was interested in joining their “Friends of Parade” program — essentially, I would post about products/drops/discount codes on my profile to share with my followers and in return, they would send me free product that I got to keep. Parade is an easy-going brand trying to make affordable pieces that are made with recycled fabric and eco-friendly packaging. Their social media is a mix of original content, resharing customers’ content to their feed, as well as heavily interacting with customers online! Without any physical stores, Parade has been able to make a name for itself and bring brand awareness simply through a smart social media plan.
 Lipschultz, J.H. (2020). Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, 3rd ed. Routledge. ISBN: 978-036719500
 Zantal-Wiener, A. (2017). Planning social media content? Ask yourself these 9 questions. Hubspot.