By Tess Christensen, Social Media and Influencer Marketing Apprentice
We all know social media gets a bad rap, from its effects on teen mental health, to spreading misinformation. Although some of its negative reputation is well deserved, it has also had its fair share of positive impacts on society. In the 25 years that social media has been around, it has tremendously changed the way people connect, share news and resources, and the way businesses operate. As Harvard School of Public Health Research Assistant Mesfin Awoke Bekalu suggests, whether social media impacts your life positively or negatively might be all in how you use it.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok have made it easier to connect with people you already know, as well as provide opportunities to expand your social network by establishing new virtual relationships online. Facebook created Facebook Groups, which allow people to connect with others based on their hobbies, similar interests or location. As of March 2022, 1.8 billion people were using Facebook Groups to help with everything from finding a new roommate to helping moms find baby formula amid the formula crisis. The power of social media is that it can connect individuals that may not have connected otherwise. For example, an incoming, first-generation college freshman may not know many people who attended college and is unsure how to prepare. Following the new students’ Facebook page to reach out to fellow students via social media can help this new student adjust.
Social media has not only allowed people to connect based on their similarities, but it has also allowed news and resources to be more easily shared. According to Pew Research Center, 48% of people receive their news from social media. With this, it is important to be cautious of where the news is coming from to discover what is real and what is not. Facebook has begun to take steps to reduce the fake news on its platform. The dissemination of news has energized social movements, giving organizations the ability to share their platform and garner support at low cost and high visibility. In 2020, many people used their social media accounts to distribute resources for social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter and for supporting healthcare workers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources and groups have given people the tools to explore who they truly are. It has given LGBTQ+ youth a space to explore their sexual identities, as well as reduced social isolation. Another Pew Research Center study revealed that 54% of social media users between the ages of 18 to 29 said they used social media to find information on joining local social justice gatherings.
For marketers, social media provides incredible opportunities for businesses to connect with their customers, receive direct feedback, and reach a much more targeted audience than more traditional forms of advertising. Working with social media creators and influencers, marketers are able to leverage third-party credibility and positive word of mouth to drive product discovery. According to a new study by CRM Essentials, 37% of consumers trust social media influencers over brands. Gen Z and Millennials are two times more likely than Boomers to trust influencers. Overall, 44% of survey respondents say they turn to social media to inform their purchasing decisions.
FWV specializes in creating bespoke social media programs for clients to build authentic connections with their audiences, drive awareness and product trial and create highly-engaged, loyal brand enthusiasts.