The Benefits of Social Media

I’ve been mulling over this post dedicated to the increasingly impressive power of social media both in the professional world and on a personal level for a while now and with today being Social Media Day, it seemed as good a day as any to finally publish this post.

Over the course of the last few months social media has become an important part of my life, mostly on a professional level. Through running my own blog I quickly had to brush up on my social media skills as the role of social media within my life shifted from sharing photos and funny videos with friends to creating and developing branding for my blog and learning to how promote it effectively.

What once was just a way to pass the time soon became my job as several opportunities opened up for me within the social media industry as a result of my blog and I was lucky enough to be approached by a few businesses to manage their social media platforms and create regular blog content for their websites.

Due to the role that social media has had in my life over the last few months I have been able to appreciate the benefits that it can have on a business when used the right way. By no means am I an expert in this field, simply a freelancer trying to put her time in wisely while on a gap year from university, so this post is solely based on my own experience and opinions on the benefits of social media but I wanted to put together a post sharing with you all a few reasons why I’ve grown to really appreciate it and the effect that it can have on your career and social life when used to its full potential.

1. NETWORKING

This is a huge one. And admittedly an obvious one given the name “social media/networks”. On a business level social media platforms such as Twitter offer a great way to network, giving you the ability to connect with and follow industry leaders and other important people within your field at the touch of a button. It’s an opportunity to keep up to date with industry news and also to make yourself known within the industry to the key players in a much more informal and (again, excuse the use of the obvious word) social manner than the likes of LinkedIn or via email.

Recently, I’ve found the benefit of networking opportunities offered by social media more relatable than ever having managed to secure two separate internships through social media. One of these internships I saw being advertised on Twitter and thankfully, decided to chance my arm and apply for it there and then. While the other came about after being contacted by someone who had seen me mentioned in a tweet by one of their former colleagues which led to them following a link to my blog and after a few conversations, they offered me a full time job with their company. It’s pretty safe to say that I’m feeling fairly grateful to the Twitter Gods right now.

2. Building a Community

This one is applicable to both personal and business use of social media to an extent and builds upon a different aspect of my point above about networking. As acknowledged above, social media is called so for a reason, it’s a way to socialise. Through social media tools such as Facebook groups and Twitter chats, we’re living in a virtual world where the opportunities to connect with such a wide range of people extends into the real world and suddenly the opportunities to make friends and build up an entire community of like-minded people is endless.

Professionally speaking, #BelfastHour is a great example of this and I’m not just saying that because my Mum, Dorcas Crawford, happens to be involved in making #BelfastHour happen. For those of you that don’t know about #BelfastHour, I suggest that you get to know all about the weekly Twitter chat and join in on Thursday nights from 9pm-10pm. It’s designed as a free digital marketing/PR tool for those of us who lack a PR budget and it’s a great opportunity to get know local business people both on a professional level and personal level. Even better, they give away a prize each week that’s donated by the featured business of that week.

An example of social media allowing you to build up a community on a personal level is Girl Crew set up by Irish gal Elva Carri as a way for girls to connect and go out all over the world. First up you find your crew. There are several options available for you, the majority of which are based on your location but also includes crews that appeal to your specific interests whether that’s fashion or travel. Then, once you’ve found and joined your group you introduce yourself, post an event and hey presto, before you know it you’ve got a whole new crew of buddies.

This sense of community and building friendships online is something that you see a lot of in within the blogger and influencer world. You often hear of bloggers talking about how they’ve met some of their closest friends through the social media aspect associated with blogging. Nicki Hoyne, for example, of My Shining Armour (@myshiningarmour – follow her on snapchat, you won’t regret it) is always snapchatting her meeting up with friends that she has made through connecting on Snapchat.

3. It’s free PR

Ultimately, the various social media platforms available offer a cost effective method of promoting your business by directing traffic to your website through clicks and links and more clicks = more PR. Social media increases the visibility and popularity of your business by giving you the chance to make both yourself and your business more personable and accessible as you can engage with your audience on a more personal level.

Social media serves as a great way of increasing brand awareness for your business or product and as a result can really increase sales for your business. At the end of the day, if people aren’t aware of a business of website’s existence then they won’t know to shop there and given that two thirds of the UK’s population are active social media users, that’s a lot of customers that you could be losing out on if you don’t take advantage of social media to give your brand an extra push.

It’s important to remember that not every platform is suitable for every audience and speaking from experience, each platform can take some getting used to in figuring out what does and doesn’t work for you. Currently I stick to using Twitter and Instagram when promoting my blog but it’s becoming very obvious that Snapchat is on the rise and is definitely having a moment in the social media marketing world so hopefully in the near future I’ll be braving Snapchat and Facebook. Don’t forget to keep an eye on social media trends and stay in tune to your audiences needs.

How do you think you benefit from social media on either a personal or professional level? Comment below and let me know.

Love, Niamh ♥

 

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