Monthly Archives: March 2012

Have a look at The Oatmeal’s cartoon How NOT to sell something to my generation. When you consider the development of social media, how has the role of the professional communicator changed since the days of Mad Men (“Advertising is based on happiness. We make the lie, we invent want.”)?  Investigate and list some best practices in social media.

Social media breaks down the communication barrier between business and the consumer.  Before social media, the only option that businesses had on a large scale was to talk to the consumer base as one large, single group.  This form of communications is called one-directional vertical engagement.  Because of this communications model, the interaction was always impersonal.

An impersonal model of communications is where the ‘make a lie, invent a want’ idea comes into play.  A lie is easier to pull off when it is impersonal.  Concerning the ‘want’, businesses need to create a want on a large scale because they don’t have the time or tools to discover the individual wants and gear the advertising to the pre-existing wants.

With the advent of social media, the communications between the business and the consumer have opened up.  Social media allows for a business to open up a conversation with the consumer and have back and forth interactions.  It also allows for the consumers to have consumer-consumer conversations about the business.  This communications model is called lateral engagement.

A business can use a Facebook page to post interesting articles, pictures, and videos.  Consumers can respond to those posts and start a conversation with the business and other consumers.  With Twitter, businesses can adopt a conversational style with their consumers.  The conversation can easily become one-to-one, with consumers and businesses tweeting at one another.  Businesses can build their own ‘culture’ or ‘personality’ by these social media platforms and others, like Pinterest.

All of these different social media outlets allow for a business to become more relatable and transparent to the consumer.  Relatability and transparency mean trustworthiness, which is essential for a good business to consumer relationship.

While social media can really help a business in it’s consumer relationships, it can only help when it is done right.  Here are some tips for how to successfully navigate the social media world as a business:

To Start:

  • Develop a strategy with an overall goal.
  • Determine which social media platform will help you to best achieve that goal.
  • Establish Key Performance Indicators for the social media platforms that you will be using.

To Keep in Mind:

  • Fill out your profile completely
  • Connect with those who share interests
  • Engage, but don’t be overtly commercial
  • Create meaningful relationships
  • Push useful and interesting information
  • Say thank you


Solis, Brian. Social media ROI: Managing and measuring social media efforts in your organization.