The curse of social media that can cure the corporate world

By James-Brandon
S. Christopher
Kendall Tich

Just a couple of decades ago and into the late 1990’s most businesses were still deciding whether or not they should even have a website.

Fast forward to today, and not only is a website an integral part in the bottom line of most businesses but a social media presence has become their way of becoming known and having cost-effective marketing.

According to the report from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, more and more American companies are starting to use some form of social media to communicate with their customers.

This may make it easier for USD students to get and keep jobs after college, because they have a powerful tool at their fingertips: the familiarity that they already have with social media.

With spring and summer quickly approaching, application deadlines for jobs, schools and internships are near. Because of these deadlines, the year can start to become stressful early on for college students. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors are beginning to think about and apply to possible jobs and internships for the summer, and seniors are looking for jobs after graduation.

Fortunately, USD students may have less to worry about if they use social media to their advantage. According to the Harvard Business Review, only about 58 percent of American companies currently use social media. Additionally, only about 12 percent of those companies are using social media correctly and effectively. This means that there are still many companies that are failing to reach their target audience.

This may be due in part to the current generation that is leading these large businesses. Many businesses see America’s youth as where the social media knowledge lies, so it is no surprise that big businesses with the older generations in charge are new to the social media world.

Luckily for college students soon entering into the business world, their social media skills will be an important asset.

“I’m hoping that the knowledge I already have about social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will help me be more appealing to employers” said sophomore Brent Lyons. “I think businesses are looking for young people who can make their name more popular through the use of the Internet”. Employers tend to agree, many of whom have been hiring college graduates with ideas on how to give the company a bigger online presence.

If you were to sign into Facebook right now, you would most likely see sponsored links on the side of your screen. Under these sponsored links you will find all of your Facebook friends that like this company. This is a strategic move on behalf of all of these businesses, as they are aware of what seeing what your friends like can do.

Typically, if someone sees that one of their friends likes a certain product, brand, etc., they will be more likely to check out this product. “The exposure to other friends’ interest has a lasting effect on you” said junior Ben Compton. He claims that something like “liking Robertito’s” has had an effect on him, citing that a recollection of a friend liking this restaurant made him go there once.

We may not always have the memory of someone “liking” something in the forefront of our thinking, but when considering an option this is typically when these thoughts will resurface in our minds.

Businesses have seen how the effect of “word-of-mouth” can be very positive (or negative) for their business. Unfortunately, social media can also lead to controversies and public criticisms of businesses and corporations. Many large companies are beginning to think twice about firing employees because of how quickly and widely information spreads on social media sites.

The Chelsea Welch controversy continues with the joining together of many St. Louis residents in a petition to rehire her. Welch, a waitress at Applebee’s in Saint Louis, Missouri, uploaded a photo to a social media site of a receipt on which someone wrote, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?” on the gratuity line.

The customer who had written this angrily contacted Applebee’s, who fired Welch right after for uploading the photo. This has created a social media controversy and has driven angry customers to try to have Welch rehired at Applebee’s.This is just one example of how corporations are beginning to take precautions in their decisions to fire employees.

Previously, companies had free will to treat their employees and their hiring and firing processes however they pleased. Because of social media, however, there is much more transparency and issues like the Welch situation have caused companies to change many of their protocols and processes.

This transparency has forced businesses to employ honest and fair business practices because they have become aware that their decisions could end up on a social media site immediately after they are made.

Other corporations can learn something from the mistakes that Applebee’s made which led to a lot of public criticism. Many of these companies are guilty of being unaware of how to properly use social media as well.

Fortunately, America’s current youth are extremely knowledgeable in the field of social media. This knowledge gives college graduates an edge because they can popularize a company’s brand on the Internet.

Many companies are hiring individuals whose only purpose is to handle the social media of the company.

Using social media is the least expensive way to get the word out, and companies have been coming up with creative ways to tap into this market.

Advertising and marketing costs can run into the millions of dollars for individual companies, and have proven that sometimes it is not necessarily effective unless they are able to create a viral campaign. Capitalizing on these two things has become very interesting in recent years.

Recently, a video came out on Youtube where a man walked across the country. The whole video contained snippets of this journey while showing his jeans very briefly in each location as he walked.

Many would agree that this was a very cool video to watch and, as a result, many people posted the link to this video to their walls on Facebook and Tweeted the link on Twitter. What many people did not catch, though, was that this was a campaign for Levi’s.

Companies are doing a lot of interesting things in order to be the next viral video and gain a lot of attention for their products, and often times people do not even know it.

As a direct result of today’s dependence on social media, many companies have been able to adapt to this new medium of communication, and have been able to gain great popularity as a direct result.

As USD graduates move into the business world, they take with them the social media knowledge that they have picked up throughout their youth.

For many companies that college graduates will work for, social media has become one of the most important marketing tools and something that can really benefit the company.

It is important to recognize, however, both the costs and benefits of social media and how it is helping businesses but can also hurt them. One can definitely assume that social media has the ability to be great for business, as long as the words circulating are in favor of the company.