When asked about the most popular and important form of social media for a company, Tim Vassilakos came back with the most fitting answer.

“I could tell you what it is right now,” Vassilakos said, “but I couldn’t tell you tomorrow.”

Vassilakos, manager of Social Media and Interactive Marketing at Henry Schein Dentistry in Melville, a panelist on an open forum called “Generating Real, Measureable Business Results with Social Media”.  This event was put on by the Social Media Association at the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) in Bethpage before an interactive crowd eager to learn more about today’s social media.

Which brings us back to the original question: What is today’s social media?

Remember Myspace? Remember “poking” people on Facebook? In the near future, we may be saying, ‘remember when Twitter had a 140-character limit?’ (Twitter is considering raising that number up to 10,000 characters).

Social media changes every day and companies must do the same to keep up with it. Now with other platforms ranging from Instagram where you can post pictures that last an eternity to Snapchat where the photos only stick around for a few seconds, it’s important to know your audience before sending out a message on a specific platform.

Panelist Maggie Murphy, who works with setting up and managing social media accounts for businesses and professional clients at Didit, spoke about the importance of having highly targeted ideas and specific keywords when spending money on a social media campaign. She also spoke about the importance of your Google rank – for example, if you are a law firm that comes up on the first vs the fifth Google page during a search for “attorney” is a goal that can lead to more business.

She said the goal of social media is to create engagement, which doesn’t necessarily mean having the most followers. It means being easily found by people searching for you, which social media can be a helpful tool to drive traffic to a website.

Panelist Meryl Otis Kessler, a marketing consultant, said businesses “need to be realistic about results” when it comes to social media. Sure, a company would love for a person to find a post about a sale on Facebook, click the link, then go on to buy a product. But that’s not usually how it works. However, the increased exposure still helps raise awareness of your company’s name and may lead to additional business.

Most of us someone who has tweeted to companies like Jet Blue and the LIFF, and they often receive prompt answers. The response made them feel like the business cared about their specific needs. The most important part of social media is to engage and be responsive. This means both checking on your page throughout the day and making sure you are on whichever type of social media your target audience is. When a person takes the time to send a message to a business, the company has the opportunity to show its human side and respond to the person in a helpful and in some instances, a fun way.

Social media doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean each specific platform will stand the test of time. To stay ahead and keep your business ahead, it’s important to adapt and embrace whatever the newest thing people are doing as long as it is reaching your targeted audience. – Owen O’Brien



 Bettye Rainwater Photography

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The Social Media Association empowers, informs, and inspires individuals and organizations to maximize the potential of social and digital media.