Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Are we friends?" ...on Facebook that is

It was back in my senior year of high school when I created my first online profile on Facebook. It seems like much longer than just a few years ago when Facebook decided to open its doors to people other than just college students. Although sometimes overwhelming to think about, social media has transformed the avenues in which individuals, students, companies and so on, exchange information and engage with their audiences – and it is quite phenomenal.

I will be the first to admit that I have not yet mastered all of the social media options out there. Although I am an experienced Facebook-er, and have dabbled in Twitter and LinkedIn, I know that I still have a lot to learn.

A few short months after I joined Twitter, I "tweeted" about the agencies in Cleveland that I was interested in applying to for summer internships. As a fairly newcomer to the Twitter world, I was surprised to find that my tweet was responded to by @buildingbrands, Liggett Stashower’s twitter handle. The response stated their interest in receiving intern applications for the summer. From that moment on, I knew that exploring what social media networks have to offer would be essential for my professional, and personal, growth.

When I began work at Liggett, I had the opportunity to take part in a brainstorming meeting to develop ideas that will strengthen and enhance a client’s image through the use of social media. It was interesting to see the shift being made between developing personal needs through social media, to developing business needs through social media.

I have learned a lot about how businesses are choosing to use social media networks and why they believe it is the next step in successful marketing practices. It is close to impossible to watch television without seeing commercials and shows mentioning their links, Facebook profiles or Twitter accounts to follow. Companies are now hiring full-time employees and/or interns who will be focusing primarily on creating an online image for the company or organization. If you love everything social media, a position such as that might be a perfect choice for you!

A good example of how different types of companies are using social media to market their products and drive traffic to their site is Little Debbie, who has created a website called Internhero.com. Little Debbie’s main goal is to engage interns from various companies around the country in a photo competition in order to win boxes of Little Debbie muffins for their company and employees to enjoy. One of my fellow interns, Evan, decided to enter the contest and was one of the lucky winners! After receiving the news, the agency is looking forward to the muffin delivery – in this case, I consider us all winners.

Rachel Z.

Connection Planning Intern

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