The Web is “a set of principles and practices that tie together a veritable solar system of sites that demonstrates some or all of those principles”. It’s a platform, and control over data within the architecture of participation provides a richer user experience. The more people using the Web the better it gets. It isn’t simply about publishing data, it’s about involvement, and those who take part are in charge. Knowledge is no longer contained within an ivory tower, and the Web can be the bridge between the user and the information they wish to seek. This is the “flattening of the world” described by Tim Berners-Lee in 2006: making the intellectual and cultural landscape something that can be reached by all those who wish to access it, allowing the development of relationships between consumers and your content, creating communities around it that you can engage with.

Adopting social media for your business

Social Presence Theory, developed by John Short, Ederyn Williams & Bruce Christie tell us that media differs in the degree of ‘social presence’ it can achieve. Social presence is defined as the acoustic, visual and physical contact that can be achieved, and is influenced by the intimacy and immediacy of the social media platform you use. Mediated encounters (telephone calls) rank lower in terms of social presence than interpersonal (e.g. face to face discussion) ones, and live chat is better than email. The higher the social presence the larger your  influence on your community. And if you combine that with media richness (media differ in the degree of richness they possess, and some types are better than others at getting rid of any confusion in your conversation with your users) then you should be on to a winning combination.

Kaplan & Haenlein’s classification of social media.

Adopting social media for your businessIf you’re using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, then your social presence and level of self-presentation will hopefully be having a fairly strong impact. If you combine this with self-disclosure (when we reveal personal information about ourselves to the user, either deliberately or otherwise) and its role in developing relationships, we can see that the type of social media we use will have consequences for how successful our relationships will be with our users. Stephen Gray suggested that for a business to succeed in its use of interactive tools it needed to have an interactive organisation behind those tools. Are you interacting with your audience?

To be a successful business, therefore, you need to be able to throw your voice beyond the echo chamber. Presence on social media sites is an integral part of achieving this.

For today’s blog post, Digital Assistant Keri Thomas gives us perspective behind adopting social media for your business, to market it and reach as wide an audience as possible, to ensure the successful delivery of your content. Keri is a Doctor of English Literature and a lecturer in the FE sector, and her particular interest is in social media strategies for the delivery of content in the cultural sector.