Exploring the Depths of Social Media

As we all know by this point, social media is clearly a big part of today’s world.  Whether looking at it for personal social use or business marketing use, it is constantly being used and becoming more and more popular.  There are many different platforms of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tencent QQ, LinkedIn, Pheed, and Foursquare to name a few.  All of these platforms are in fact very different, what a surprise! If all social media platforms were the same, they would not be as successful as they are because they would not offer a unique experience from one platform to another.  Because I am going into Event Management, I am realizing the increased importance of social media in the business world.  Many companies use social media to talk and market to their customers.  Many careers today are now having titles like “Social Media Marketing Manager” and “Director of Social Media,” which proves the importance of social media in the business world.  When holding positions like the ones mentioned and deciding on the best ways to be involved in the lives of your customers, it is critical to examine the differences between the social platforms and determine which works best for what you and your company are trying to accomplish. For the purpose of this blog post, I will be examining the differences between Instagram and LinkedIn to see how differently these sites allow companies to interact with customers and other people in general. Instagram: According to Instagram’s homepage, it is a way to “Capture and Share the World’s Moments.  Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.  Take a picture or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram – it’s that easy.  You can even share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more.  It’s a new way to see the world. Oh yeah, did we mention it’s free?”  The use of the word world twice on the home page of Instagram is very interesting. By opening with “Capture and Share the World’s Moments”  Instagram feels instantly like a platform that connects many diverse people and their experiences.  All of this can be seen on the homepage before even signing up for an account.  Once you are signed in, you setup your account.  You can start by creating your name, which really can be whatever you want, then you can upload a user photo.  After this, it is now time for the wonder to begin.  You can upload your own photos by either taking a photo at that moment or uploading one from the gallery in your phone or computer.  As mentioned in the statements on Instagram’s homepage you are able to apply a filter to your picture to “transform its look and feel.”  These filters can emphasizes color, shapes, and make the pictures more than just a quick snap shot of life.  You can add captions to the photos you upload; in the captions you can tag people and you can use hashtags to get even more notice from people if they happen to search or see the hashtag. People can follow your account, and you can search people and follow them too.  As a user you have the ability to like and comment on other’s photos.  Other users are able to do this to your photos as well!  One interesting feature of Instagram that is not often used or talked about is the “Posts You’ve Liked” section in the options of your own account.  This is a nice feature that allows you to view the posts you have like in the past. Looking at Instagram from the perspective of a business professional, you can see many opportunities to market for your company.  A company Instagram account can be created and used to connect with customers of the company.  For instance, American Apparel is a very well known clothing brand.  They use Instagram to upload the current clothes that are available in the stores.  Clothing is either presented on models or on a flat surface to showcase the outfits.  American Apparel has the ability to edit their photos to emphasize a particular look or piece of clothing.  They also use Instagram to post videos and pictures about certain sales they have going on.  This can allow their customers/followers to see on a day to day basis what is going on in the store and attract many customers in.  I am a follower of American Apparel and find myself frequently in that store because of the posts they share on Instagram.  Clearly, Instagram serves as a great way for companies to market their products to their customers on a daily basis.  They can post offers, news, interesting facts discount codes, and so much more to be closer related to their customers and get them into the store or using the products. LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is a social platform that initially does not give a lot of information on its homepage.  When going to LinkedIn.com the homepage says “Be great at what you do.”  It then says “Get started – it’s free. Registration takes less than 2 minutes. ” The homepage also has six portrait style pictures of people who seem to be dressed somewhat nicely, meaning they are not lounging on the couch, but seemed put together for the picture. Unlike Instagram, which gave you a breakdown of what the site is about, LinkedIn does not really provide much information to let a new user know what it is about. Without anymore information, I would guess that LinkedIn is a social platform used to connect people for more professional reasons.  I would infer this because of the “Be great at what you do” statement makes it seem like it is for business use.  After creating an account and signing into LinkedIn, the headings on the top left read Home, Profile, Network, Jobs, Interests; this confirms that LinkedIn is a social platform used for business interaction.  When creating your LinkedIn profile, you include information like previous or current schooling, degrees, job experience, honors and awards, other professional information, and a profile picture.  Basically this is a form of social media in which you are creating and sharing your resumé instead of sharing moment to moment updates like Twitter or fun personal statuses and pictures like Facebook.  Once your account is set up you can search for either people you know or people who have things in common with you; this part is similar to other social networks.  Because I am a Hospitality student, I have certain “tags” that come with my profile that people can find me by.  For example, when searching New York University, Hospitality Management, Event Planning, I may come up because of the words mentioned in my background and experience sections.  This allows people to get easily connected.  In the search bar on the top of the page on Linked it says “Search for people, jobs, companies, and more…”  You are able to search positions, companies, and much more on LinkedIn, but it is definitely used for business purposes. As a business professional, I would want my LinkedIn page to represent my experiences and expertise very well.  I would like to have my company well represented by what I have in my information.  LinkedIn differs now from Instagram, and many other types of social media, because if using LinkedIn for business purposes, it would be less of a marketing act and more of a recruitment act.  This means that if I were someone working for the Waldorf Astoria and needed some interns, I could search Hospitality, New York University, Event Management, and so much more to find candidates from NYU’s Hospitality program to become the new interns.  I myself as an NYU Hospitality student can use LinkedIn to connect with Hospitality Professionals in order to gain an internship or a job in the future.  LinkedIn connects people based on similar career fields and offers a platform to share information and build working relationships. Analysis: In terms of marketing, Instagram is better to share interesting pictures, sales, products, and much more to entice current and new customers to purchase the company’s product.  It does not take much money for a company to take a picture of something new they are offering and share it to Instagram.  I would have someone be in charge of social media marketing and use Instagram to spread more awareness about our company and what we have to offer.  I would want that employee or team of employees to try to increase followers by at least 100 per week based on the amount of reach they are receiving from the posts. Because Instagram is not really made for back and forth communication, other than comments on pictures shared, I would like the company Instagram to have a contact email in the bio section in order for customers to be able to contact someone if they have a question about the company or product.   In terms of recruitment, as stated previously, LinkedIn can easily be used to connect employees, business professionals, and people looking for work and business connections.  I think it is important for managers in companies to have LinkedIn pages in order for many other people to learn more about the company and what jobs they have to offer.  I feel that LinkedIn is more of a personal choice, meaning a company may not require its employees to have a LinkedIn but may recommend having one.  Whereas a company Instagram would most likely be a part of the marketing department and not required of employees to have personal Instagram accounts. It is clear to see that there are differences between platforms of social media.  When comparing Instagram and LinkedIn it is almost difficult to see the similarities between the two because they offer and can be used for such different reasons.  Yes, they both connect people based on similar interests, but they can be utilized so differently in terms of personal and business use. I hope this analysis has not bored you, but opened your mind to really looking at the depths of social platforms and what they have to offer. Leen

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