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Step Aside, Television… Is Social Media the Future of Marketing?

Written by Micah Xu, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)

Social media is a controversial subject in many regards, such as its effect on society, the way we see people and the way it affects our conversations, but something that is undisputed about it is its effect on marketing.

Nowadays, younger people do not watch traditional cable TV as much as they used to. Most of the time, their time is spent watching streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, or creator-driven content sites such as YouTube. This, in addition to the growth of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, means that lots of people who would have been watching television years ago are now spending their time scrolling through their feed for something interesting to watch, read or listen to. This means that advertisements for traditional television are simply not as effective now as it was twenty or thirty years ago, and if a small business wants to stay relevant, the marketing team has to make sure they adapt with the changing market.

For example, a business could create a public social media account on something like Facebook or Twitter and post about the content or service it provides. It would also have to make sure that the advertisement does not come off as forced in that service, so a good marketing team should make sure to stay in touch with the current trends, though they should be careful not to break professionalism. Oftentimes when a company tries to make something like a meme to reach a wider audience, their attempt can come off as contrived, so making sure that the post itself is non-offensive and professional while still informing and entertaining the reader or viewer is a high-level priority.

It is also important to engage the audience like an entertainer might. Taking polls and posting consistently on a variety of sites is a good way to keep audience engagement and new people coming in. In summation, social media can be a powerful tool to advertise to a wider audience and grow a small business, but it can also be ineffective if the company in question does not know the correct way to harness its power.