by Elrik Jundis
Lauren Isla (HCD’s Business Development Manager) and I recently attended an online Philippine based social media class. I joined because I wanted to see how much the online world had changed in the last 20 years and to wrap my head around the world of social media. I was also curious to understand this inside of the Philippine context.
In the mid 90’s I used to design websites. Even back then, we talked about user experience. We engaged clients about what they wanted the user to do when they visited the website and what they wanted the user to remember from using their site. The holy grail back then was increased sales.
Social Media is another animal. In the Philippines, the top three social media platforms in terms of engagement are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. One thing that was emphasized is that the platform is just a tool. The popularity and use of a platform can change.
In the mid 2000’s, I used to live on Friendster and Myspace When I moved to the Philippines in 2007, Multiply was the go to source for many home based businesses selling everything from catered specialties to breast feeding wraps. Myspace is now a platform for video and music creative and Friendster and Multiply have closed their virtual doors.
Living as an expat in the Philippines, I love Facebook. It lets me keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. It also reconnected me to friends from different communities from different phases of my life. It has also helped connect to engage with new communities here in the Philippines. I’ve made some good friends in the virtual world first before meeting and working on stuff in the real world.
I learned that Instagram is great for photos and short 15 second videos and that Twitter is the tool for sharing 120 character messages with links. This was an alien world for me. We got to see how the generation growing up with these tools, feel fully engaged with these “sound bite” interactions and enjoy writing about and sharing post they like with their networks.
According to the expert consultants who taught our course, “by it’s very definition, companies really shouldn’t be on Social Media because they are not people.” A good Social Media Plan is about giving the public a chance to engage with a virtual representation of a company or an organization and doing this over time. People develop a relationship with the “persona” of the company via social media.
We were walked through the process of creating the right “persona” for a market segment and product. We then learned how that persona can interact and build a relationship that builds a community, increases engagement and when required helps alleviate issues. Having a clear persona allows a Social Media manager or team to respond to their user base with a consistent voice that they learn to trust and come back to interact with.
A good social media plan takes advantage of multiple platforms with an eye on the next one in the future. The heart of Social Media is real time immediate interaction – if you don’t have a full time social media manager or team interacting with the public throughout the day, you really are not doing social medial.
An eye opener to me is that a social media campaign is not about creating sales, it’s a support structure that helps keep a company and/or product in the public eye. A campaigns success is measured in engagement and there are many ways to measure this. In the best case scenario companies can build die-hard fans who write and created content that they then share about a product, campaign or organization. When the right circumstances come together buzz about these outputs get shared across multiple platforms and are seen by thousands if not millions of consumers.