Social media represents a way for businesses to control their own message, and create relationships and bonds with the consumers before they even meet.
By Terry Hart
Our descendants will look back and view the coming of the Internet as one of the most important social inventions in history, right up there with the wheel and the airplane, and that’s not just an exaggeration. The Internet has infused its way into every facet of our lives, providing new ways to interact with our environment and changing how we communicate and interact with each other.
People like Monique Stennis, Social Media Manager for the University of Redlands, occupy positions that weren’t thought of more than a few years ago, and in that short time have become instrumental in navigating a new world of communication.
Stennis was raised in Chino, California, and earned a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Mass Media from California State University San Bernardino. She went on to achieve an M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of LaVerne.
As the Social Media Manager at the University of Redlands, Stennis oversees the university’s social media program in addition to providing consultation and leadership to campus organizations with a social media presence. Stennis became involved with social media early, as she understood the importance of building relationships with target audiences and recognized how social media could be used as a revolutionary tool for businesses to achieve that goal.
“Social media is a way to connect with people,” she said. “When you look at (typical) mass media, there’s too many people or organizations you have to get through before you can get your message out there. With social media that doesn’t necessarily exist. You can get your message out through your own network as opposed to hoping someone else decides whether it’s good enough or fits their platform.”
For Stennis, social media represents a way for businesses not only to control their own message, but also help create a relationship and a bond with the consumer before they even meet.
Having a social media presence is a must for today’s businesses, as consumers are research savvy and most will look up a business on their phone or other device before patronizing. To be really effective at capturing your audience, going beyond creating a Facebook or Instagram page is important.
“You should have a Facebook page, as it’s the number one social media market,” Stennis said.
Though the most important question to ask starting off is, “Who is your target audience and what platforms are they using to consume information?”
With so much information being digital in this day and age, it’s a question that can be easily answered. Stennis points out that sites such as YouTube and Social Media Examiner can provide businesses with an overarching view of who’s on what sites, broken down by race, gender, industry, and a host of other categories. This enables businesses to target specifically the core audience they’re trying to reach.
Once on social media, Stennis recommends that businesses be prepared to post regularly, as your consumers will be looking for it.
“It doesn’t have to be every day, but whatever you decide, stick to it and have things to say,” Stennis said.
Video posts are always better than photos, and photos better than just words. The idea is to get consumers to share your content, increasing your visibility. If a post does really well, you can then put money behind it and use site algorithms to reach an even wider target audience. These algorithms can be decided along a number of factors of your choosing. Social media gives the business owner the tools to reach and engage potential consumers in a variety of ways at a low barrier of entry.
TEC Leimert is a non-profit community organization dedicated to bringing urban professionals, business owners, and students together with entertainment industry experts and technology entrepreneurs to bridge the digital divide, close the wealth gap, and create social capital. Learn more at www.tecleimert.com, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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