Social media: It has changed human conversation. People now have the power to share information instantly to anyone, anywhere, in as little as 140 characters. Let’s face it, when was the last time you watched a television program without seeing a hashtag appear in the corner? If you have not noticed already, social media is here to stay, and organizations can utilize social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to promote and exchange information directly to the consumer.
In my quest to learn how Discovery Communications uses social media, I thought it would be beneficial to learn more about how organizations, in general, are currently using the vast online communities.
I had the chance to sit down with Eric Stoller, an active blogger for Inside Higher Ed and former Web coordinator for Oregon State University. Stoller has been blogging since 2004 and joined Facebook the moment it was available.
“For a very long time now, people have talked about social media for business, for higher education, for entertainment, and all sorts of stuff,” says Stoller. “For me, it was ‘What could I do to take my experience with marketing, communications, and the Web and blend it into my work with higher education?’”
Today, Stoller travels to schools and institutions to talk about how they can effectively use social media to connect with current and future students and the importance of social media. After interviewing Stoller and attending his digital identity presentation at Kent State, below are some of the considerations an organization needs to contemplate before starting its own digital identity.
What’s the value?
As Stoller states in the video, an organization should not create a Facebook or Twitter page just because other companies have done this. There needs to be value for the consumer and the organization itself. According to Stoller, if your organization wants to be actively engaged with the consumer, these are the questions an organization needs to ask before choosing Facebook or Twitter:
During the interview, Stoller notes that not all businesses are a good fit for social media. Stoller says organizations that have a national or international consumer base should consider social media. But companies that sell goods to other companies (i.e. industrial products); social media may not be necessary to have a thriving business.
But, before your organization starts posting on a Facebook page or tweeting on a Twitter account, Stoller says there needs to be a discussion regarding goals, outcomes, and strategies so that some structure is “guiding” an organization’s actions.