How Can Social Media Change the World?

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen how social media can be both a great tool for keeping in touch and an illusion for feeling like you’re connected.

The Good

In August I was on vacation in Moscow, and I was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend who lives and works there. His job requires that he live overseas for two or three years at a time with limited home leave so I don’t get to see him very often – I think the last time we were together was about a year and a half ago.

But it didn’t feel that way when we saw each other because we stay connected on Facebook – through each other’s wall posts, messages, photos and chats. It’s an easy way to stay up to date on each other’s daily lives and bridge the gap. It’s nice because just a few years ago people working overseas for extended periods were often isolated from family and friends, forced to rely on sporadic letters and dealing with awkward reunions.

The Bad

On the flip side, I saw a friend this past weekend that I also haven’t seen in a year and a half. The problem with that is that he lives just a few miles from me but our interactions on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare have provided us the illusion that we’ve been in touch – we know what’s going on with each other, where we are, etc. But we haven’t really connected despite how geographically close we are.

What’s This Mean for Your Business?

Social media should be a tool to augment your connection to your customers, not replace any existing channels. Don’t give up your usual methods of staying in touch with your current customers.

Use Twitter, Facebook and blogs as a way to join conversations that would be happening with or without you and learn more about your audience. They can provide valuable insight into how your existing and potential customers perceive you, your brand and your product.

Social media is a great way to augment your customer service – don’t expect it to replace it.

In Practice

Our client InterExchange provides visas for students coming to work in the US for the summer through a cultural exchange program called Work & Travel USA. The Work & Travel team uses Facebook to stay connected with the students ahead of their arrival and during their stay in the United States.

Since the staff is based in New York while employers can be anywhere, the team uses Twitter to stay apprised to local events, following the employers as well as local Chambers of Commerce and local governments so they know about what’s going on around town when the students arrive for their visits.

Your Turn

  • How do you use social media to stay in touch with your customers?

Lisa Crotty

Marketing Manager

Lisa is a Senior Optimization Specialist at Innate – her friends even teased that she A/B tested her name change. Lisa studied Philosophy of Science & Technology at Virginia Tech and is always asking why.

Scroll To Top