Social Media in the Real World

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Alex Brooks kicking off his talk on ‘Social Media in the Real World’

Most millennials nowadays know how to use social media but when it comes to managing it, panic can occur, as guest speaker Alex Brooks pointed out Thursday evening.

After initially studying Public Relations then changing to Politics at the University of Greenwich, Alex Brooks decided to make the move from student to staff and is now the Social Media Manager here at the University of Greenwich. In his time running all social media accounts for the university, Brooks has learned a fair few tips about the industry and how to keep up with the fast changing nature of the internet.

Below is Brooks’ favourite social media campaign associated with Taco Bell’s campaign ‘Taco Emoji’:

University of Greenwich: What’s it like?

Brooks’ job entails managing the wide scale of social media accounts of the University of Greenwich; from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Snapchat. Brooks is able to create relevant content for all channels of communication.

Brooks believes that social media effectiveness is key to creating relevant content for the target audiences. 

Describing his job as; “PR, Marketing, Customer Service and Engagement all rolled into one.”

The university generally reports on all the posts sent to each channel and monitors all mentions and comments made by the public to benefit the university in general. For example: during the winter months, students would tweet about the heating, and this would be reported via his role and the heating would be turned on.

Social Media and What’s Changing:

There are a few key points Brooks addressed about the changing world of social media, the first being Platform Sprawl. The platforms we use to post and share are constantlyImage result for social media channels fading in and out. Facebook is thriving, Pinterest is dying, Vine is dead, and Bebo is making a return. Yes…Bebo. In an industry where platforms are coming to life, dying, and resurrecting, it’s crucial to keep up with the trends.

Then there’s Overlapping. This is how Instagram decided to introduce the Stories feature which, as we may know, is pretty much Snapchat. Facebook has now utilised the use of the hashtag, made popular by Twitter.  When platforms overlap users are more likely to use the original platform in which the feature was first introduced. A show of hands in Brooks presentation revealed that no one in the room who used Instagram used Instagram Stories, instead opting to use Snapchat.

Most social media trends are down to the user and same goes for the pattern of Changes in Behaviour. This is a platform change that results in the behaviour of everyday social media users. Facebook was once on its way to becoming a platform that only middle aged mothers used but is now just as popular with millennials as ever. Features such as video and hashtags are attributes to this trend of use. Twitter, a once popular platform for sharing personal updates is now rapidly depleting in performance and has become a source of news headlines rather than personal posts. Keeping up with changes in behaviour on social media platforms is a task any social media manager must learn to master.

How do we cope?

That’s the big question on everyone’s lips whilst the ever-growing communication channels evolve! Brooks stated that we must create a strategy and furthermore a plan to deal with the new communications channels; by strategising and planning around the channels it allows a brand, organisation or company to perform to best of it’s ability.

Potential Trends of 2017:

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  1. Dark Social – as privacy is growing as employers search the demons in everyone’s closet, stalking social media accounts back to when they first started being on social media platforms, people have became more private on social media accounts. Although this is great for the individual, for brands, an organisation and companies it leaves them in the dark, with no content of knowing if their brands having affected the ‘dark social’ accounts of private users.
  2. Augmented and virtual reality – Pokemon Go seemed to have a massive impact on virtual reality with the release of their new app this summer – with the app going viral within 24 hours. This leads us to the question, will this be the start of a whole new revolution of social gaming in 2017?
  3. Chatbots – like Siri, Brooks believed that there will be a new technology which will be able to cut out the middleman and be able to grant wishes at the touch of a button. E.g. When booking a flight, via the chatbot it will allow a user to book a flight within minutes by simply talking to the bot.

Brooks was able to give us an insight into the world of social media, monitoring and the future of digital communication, which will not only benefit us students in the new digital age but also allow us to understand how to target and communicate our messages effectively and responsibly.

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PR Frat Members & our guest speaker Alex Brooks


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