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Using Social Media for Social Change

By: Devon Grey

Copyright (c) 2014 QueerWorld.com

In order to successfully utilize social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram we need to know how and why our potential clients are using them. The original purpose of social networking was to connect people with other people they already knew but as these platforms have evolved, so have the reasons people use them. Most consumers now use social media to make new connections as well as foster established relationships (Brandtzaeg et al. 146). This is good news for businesses trying to bridge the gap but it also presents its own marketing challenges. The LGBT consumer market is one of America's least understood niches even though it encompasses nearly 16 million people.

For businesses, social media is an important part of any modern day marketing plan, but it is also the easiest marketing tool to misuse. Since it is free and easily accessible via any gadget we can plug into the wall, our instinct may be to pummel our audiences with as much information as possible, as often as we can, in as many different formats as we can manage. With 93% of business people using social media for marketing purposes, users are constantly being bombarded with coupons, banners, and new products that will supposedly revolutionize their life (Smith).

We have to realize that we are interrupting ongoing conversations by pitching our goods and services. Unless we become familiar to our audiences, we cannot be a positive part of their social media experience. The information we share will be just another ad to scroll past instead of material to absorb and utilize.

Becoming relevant to our audiences starts with authenticity. That means being a person or group of people first and a business second. In order for someone to care about the product we are pitching, they must first value what we have to say as people, just like the other individuals they choose to friend or follow. If they know us, they will trust our brand and recommend it to others.

This is especially important for LGBT business owners. By becoming a familiar and welcome entity that is integrated into someone's life we create an environment that strips away foreignness, quells insecurities, and builds a rapport of normalcy. Likewise non-LGBT people will find this advice helpful in Setting up a new business in the LGBT community.

Social networks can be great platforms to set your soap box on, but they also serve as tools for unification. They give us ample opportunities to organically start changing society's idea of typical, by simply doing what we do every day and sharing those moments with the world. The average social media user spends 3.6 hours a day socializing online; that's approximately 100 hours a month and 1300 hours a year (Wiltfong). All of those hours add up to an abundance of space and time to expose people to a new normal.

Social media is forever changing. Every week there is a new platform to explore but the human element remains the same. We are all trying to make connections. As business people employing these technologies we have an opportunity to demonstrate our similarities and celebrate our differences.

Tags : Using ,Social ,Media ,Change ,people ,social ,business ,marketing ,hours
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