The Evolution and Impact of Social Media: A Comprehensive Analysis

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What is social media?

Social media is a collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

People use social media to stay in touch and interact with friends, family and various communities. Businesses use social applications to market and promote their products and track customer concerns.

Business-to-consumer websites include social components, such as comment fields for users. Various tools help businesses track, measure and analyze the attention the company gets from social media, including brand perception and customer insight.

Social media has enormous traction globally. Mobile applications make these platforms easily accessible. Some popular examples of general social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What are the business applications of social media?

In business, social media is used to market products, promote brands, connect to customers and foster new business. As a communication platform, social media promotes customer feedback and makes it easy for customers to share their experiences with a company. Businesses can respond quickly to positive and negative feedback, address customer problems and maintain or rebuild customer confidence.

Social media is also used for crowdsourcing. That’s the practice of using social networking to gather knowledge, goods or services. Companies use crowdsourcing to get ideas from employees, customers and the general public for improving products or developing future products or services.

  • Social media analytics. This is the practice of gathering and analyzing data from blogs and social media websites to assist in making business decisions. The most common use of social media analytics is to do customer sentiment analysis.
  • Social media marketing (SMM). This application increases a company’s brand exposure and customer reach. The goal is to create compelling content that social media users will share with their social networks. A key components of SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization, SMO is a strategy for drawing new visitors to a website. Social media links and share buttons are added to content and activities are promoted via status updates, tweets and blogs.
  • Social customer relationship marketing. Social CRM is a powerful business tool. For example, a Facebook page lets people who like a company’s brand to like the business’s page. This, in turn, creates ways to communicate, market and network. Social media sites give users the option to follow conversations about a product or brand to get real-time market data and feedback.
  • Recruiting. Social recruiting has become a key part of employee recruitment strategies. It is a fast way to reach a lot of potential candidates, both active job seekers and people who were not thinking about a job change until they say the recruitment post.
  • Enterprise social networking. Businesses also use Enterprise social networking to connect people who share similar interests or activities. These applications include internal intranets and collaboration tools, such as Yammer, Slack and Microsoft Teams, that give employees access to information and communication capabilities. Externally, public social media platforms let organizations stay close to customers and make it easy to conduct market research.
The Evolution and Impact of Social Media: A Comprehensive Analysis

 

 

Social Media Overview

What is Social Media?

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The Office of Communications and Marketing manages the main Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts.

We offer an array of tools, including one-on-one consults with schools, departments and offices looking to form or maintain an existing social media presence to discuss social media goals and strategy, as well as offer insights and ideas. Before creating any social media account, you must submit the Account Request Form. Be sure to check with your school’s communications office for any school specific regulations or branding guidelines.

Key Principles for Social Media Managers:

  • Social media is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience and building relationships. It is not just a broadcast channel or a sales and marketing tool.
  • Authenticity, honesty and open dialogue are key.
  • Social media not only allows you to hear what people say about you, but enables you to respond. Listen first, speak second.
  • Be compelling, useful, relevant and engaging. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but think through your efforts before kicking them off.

Popular Social Media Tools and Platforms:

  • Blogs: A platform for casual dialogue and discussions on a specific topic or opinion.
  • Facebook: The world’s largest social network, with more than 3.03 billion monthly active users (as of 2023). Users create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including status updates. Brands create pages and Facebook users can “like” brands’ pages.
  • X/Twitter: A social networking/micro-blogging platform that allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of short status messages (280 character limit).
  • InstagramA free photo and video sharing app that allows users to apply digital filters, frames and special effects to their photos and then share them on a variety of social networking sites.
  • LinkedIn: A place where groups of professionals with similar areas of interest can share information and participate in a conversations.
  • YouTube/Vimeo: Video hosting and watching websites.

Learn how to best utilize these tools with our platform specific best practices.

University Social Media Policies:

Social networks and other online media are great tools for engagement and two-way communication, but given the nature of this two-way, real-time communication, there is the potential for significant risks associated with inappropriate use.

University Policies related to social media:

  • Social Media Policy for Official Social Media Accounts
  • Responsible Use
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Copyright, Fair Use and Open Access
  • Name Use/Insignias
  • Visual Identity [PDF]

General Social Media Best Practices: 

While the tools of social media are easily accessible, the rules of the road are not necessarily intuitive. It’s a new communications landscape, with tremendous opportunities but also a lot to learn.

We developed these guidelines to provide everyone at the university—from communications professionals to department administrators—with basic guidance on how to best use social media toward communications goals, both as the owner of an account and as a user/contributor. The suggestions and best practices outlined here can help you use these channels effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation, and follow university guidelines. We also hope that these guidelines spark conversations among social media practitioners on campus to learn from each other as we explore these emerging platforms.

Please review the university best practices and feel free to contact Communications and Marketing with any questions.

Requesting or Registering an Official Tufts Social Media Account:

If you are looking to create an account, you must meet with the Social Media Strategist in the Office of Communications and Marketing to discuss the social media policies at the university, as well as strategy, goals, messaging and best practices. Please fill out a request form and we will contact you to set up a meeting.

If you already have an account that was created prior to September 2013, please be sure to register your account with the Office of Communications and Marketing.

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