Social Media – the human factor

Picture of users with mobile devices.Reviewing the concepts discussed in Neal Schaffer’s Maximize Your Social he offers practical advice on how a company can leverage social media in order to:

  1. Reach out and engage with customers, prospects, partners, and your network.
  2. Create opportunity by communicating and sharing information.
  3. Manage your reputation and discover new business through monitoring information (18).

These three aspects really form the cornerstone of why anyone in a personal or corporate capacity becomes involved with social media because using these services is about building and managing your reputation while creating opportunities for sharing and discussion.

The idea of building a strong, consistent brand identity across social media platforms is an interesting one. However, I believe that similar to the world of conventional medias, television, print, word of mouth etc., social media platforms cannot have the same communication approach – one strategy does not fit all. As Schaffer mentions channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Tumblr all employ a different format and have different expectations for communication, for example, Instagram is comprised of photographs while Twitter uses small 140-character posts.

This is a very important take away because you can’t treat each channel the same, each requires its own strategy in order to meet consumer expectations.

Some channels might not work for your company because they appeal to the wrong audience or use a media that is not inline with company objectives – and that’s okay. Over and over Schaffer makes the argument that there’s no point in belonging to a social media platform if you do not have content to share or curate for your audience. It doesn’t make sense for every company to be on every form of social media because some just don’t work. You only want to use the ones that work for your company and that you can excel in. For example, an infographic (link below) published by Search Engine Journal states that sites like Flickr, Tumblr and Stumbleupon are the least popular sites used by marketers (Jeff Bullas, 2014). This makes sense. Tumblr has become a popular medium for fandom culture with its scrolling dashboards and ability to share multiple forms of content. Companies that benefit from a cult-like following would thrive on Tumblr but it would be difficult for faceless corporate entities to fit into the free spirited, blog-like nature of the site especially given that 50% of the posts of photos (, 2013).

Link to Infographic

Although Schaffer focuses on why and how corporations should develop social media strategies and policies in order to form long lasting bonds with their stakeholders, his advice in Chapter 5: Core Elements and Concepts in Your Social Media Strategy is applicable to anyone wishing to build an online identity. This is an area that I feel deserves more focus on in his book because employees are an extension of a social media strategy. As ambassadors of a company they reflect the company’s attributes and brand message even when not “on the clock.”

Individual’s have their online identity – one that (hopefully) portrays their good points to the digital world. However, your online social media presents a picture of you to your employer and is one of the most telling, raw looks into the person you truly are and whether you will fit into the corporate culture. Twitter posts have become the grounds for dismissal because despite tweeting on your personal time tweeting bigoted, racist comments is not tolerated.

Social media was once a platform for expressing yourself and connecting with family and friends but it is now a way for your employer to monitor you – and you must adjust accordingly. Schaffer’s points about having a consistent name, colour scheme, and voice across all social media platforms is important to anyone who engages in multiple platforms because as much as we would like to keep one site solely for our personal, private use the openness of the Internet makes this incredibly difficult.

Resources (2013). 26 Astonishing Tumblr Demographics, Trends and Stats. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from

Jeff Bullas. (2014). Social Media Facts and Statistics You Should Know in 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from

Schaffer, N. (2013). Maximize your social a one-sep guide to building a social media strategy for marketing and business success. Hoboken, New Jersey: Windmills Marketing, LLC.


One thought on “Social Media – the human factor

  1. Hey Olivia, I couldn’t agree more that employees can become a company or organization’s greatest ambassadors or worst critics. I found your viewpoint interesting about employees being an extension of a company’s social media strategy. We often forget that employees are also customers (in private organizations) or taxpayers and community residents (in public organizations). They will have a ‘stake in’ or ‘opinion of’ the happenings in your organization. If their personal online identity portrays negative commentary about their employers (although they may be subject to some HR legal issues)…..their voice still stands out in a crowd of anonymous public because they are employees, so you would assume they more know about the organization than others would.

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