Social Media Gets Serious

26
Jun
2014

Social Media Gets Serious

Social Media Gets Serious
We recently read an interview that got us thinking (again) about social media and how people and brands use it to represent themselves. Novelist Teju Cole is known for his beautifully slow-paced and well-written books Every Day is For the Thief and Open City, both of which offer a unique insight into the cultural dynamics of Nigeria, America and Europe. Recently he spoke to The Guardian about, amongst other things, his presence on Twitter. An active tweeter, he gets involved with the political sphere, challenging those opinions he finds either lazy or pernicious.
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This perhaps isn’t unique – plenty of public figures use Twitter as a platform to air their political views. What is somewhat unusual, though, is how seriously Cole takes social media. He admitted to writing drafts of his tweets, stating: ‘When I tweet, I’m still a writer’. One can’t imagine some other prolific tweeters taking so much time over their posts. Perhaps more of us should follow his example. Well thought out posts that accurately represent and enhance your brand identity make for more relevant, interesting, and profitable conversations all round. One of the beauties of Twitter is how instantaneous it is – it’s so easy to type out a quick message and send it out to the world. Bite-sized nuggets of information can be transmitted immediately. Just look at how quickly topics become trends. But this ‘instant-ness’ sometimes fosters carelessness. When it’s so easy to send out a tweet, they can seem ephemeral. Here today, gone tomorrow. That’s not really the case though, is it? Your feed is a timeline of your activities on Twitter that all of your followers can see, and who knows how many people see each individual Tweet? Even if it’s limited to just 140 characters, it’s still a platform on which to display your brand, your business, or yourself. Cole, conscious of his role as a writer and all that it entails, aims to ‘create a space’, even with his Twitter feed, admitting that he ‘actually sits and thinks about this’. It’s no bad thing to consider one’s online profile carefully. Through his thoughtful and measured outputs, Cole ensures that he honours his values as a writer and is cohesive across all fronts. This is something brands should put effort into too. When you tweet, you’re tweeting as your company or brand, and so it’s important that your message comes through even in the briefest of messages. Whether it’s through the careful use of certain hashtags or ensuring that specific company vocabulary is used, it is paramount that you establish a distinctive tone of voice in line with the rest of your brand and run with it. Aim to create a ‘space’ of your own online that’s dedicated entirely to the showcasing of your brand. Whether you’re dealing with customer service queries or promoting a new marketing campaign, you’re still contributing to the associations consumers have with your company and you brand identity overall. To use Cole as an example once more, as a Nigerian-American writer whose work focuses on Nigerian people and culture, he often engages in discussion about Africa and the prejudiced opinions that some Westerners seem to have of his native continent. A cosmetics company, despite being a completely different entity entirely, could use the same principal in their social media usage: posting make up tips and engaging in conversations about top performing cosmetic products would enhance their brand identity and integrity. Consumers are given the impression that they know what they’re talking about and further opportunities to interact with them. Every tweet has a purpose. The same, of course, goes for other social media platforms as well. Put thought into images you post on Instagram (there’s no shame in setting something up especially, or using some super-flattering filters) and give some substance to your posts on Facebook or your blog. When you say something online, you’re not just making a comment; you’re representing yourself and your brand.
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