By: Kristy Neiboer – Media & Marketing Intern, College Pro
I am a social media activist. I have been up to date with new social media spaces since I was about 13, when I had a MySpace account and used it regularly. I got my Facebook account in 2006, and instantly was obsessed. Since then, many spaces have come out every year, including Youtube, Google+, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, etc. I have an account in each of these spaces, and appreciate their unique purposes, but have never used any as regularly as Facebook. Being a part of all these spaces has exposed me to the many businesses that use social media as a form of marketing. With or without the consumer’s realization, businesses are using social media as free advertising. In addition, companies have taken advantage of social media’s popularity by creating paid advertising, such as Facebook and Youtube ads. However, there are many ways that large companies have completely taken over social media for their own advantage, some of which are much less obvious and are not known by the average consumer. These concepts are a large part of what I have learned to date in my role with College Pro this summer.
Part of my responsibility at College Pro is posting on social media spaces daily, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I was very familiar with these spaces prior to being hired, and was very confident in my ability. However, the difference between personal and company accounts is that the interaction from fans is a company’s main focus, where, personally, it is a means of communication between friends. This proves to be challenging, because every post is representing the brand of the company, which limits the types of things that can be posted. Also, it is more difficult to stimulate interest in fans than it is with friends you know well. I have learned that there are many tricks, such as posting questions, and ensuring to tag people, but interaction greatly depends on how well you know your target market.
Aside from the basic differences between personal and company accounts, there are some spaces that can be used in an entirely creative way, meaning companies must determine how to use them specifically to their company’s benefit. A prime example of this scenario is Pinterest. I have a personal Pinterest account, and use it mainly for posting things of my own interest, such as photographs and crafts, as well as looking at other’s recipes. However, after researching various companies, I have discovered that each company uses Pinterest in their own personal way, which benefits them and their customers. For example, California Closets uses Pinterest to display rooms and design ideas, which serves their customers, while other companies use it to display pictures of employees and their company’s culture. I am still in the process of learning how spaces like Pinterest can benefit College Pro Painters as a company.