Skip main navigation

The developing role of social media

This step provides an overview of social media strategy and gives an introduction to the key course themes, plus an invitation to social learning.
© University of Leeds

Just a decade ago, the major social media platforms that we are so familiar with now were still in their infancy. Some had yet to be created. Simply being on the internet was enough for many companies.

Social media platforms

Gradually, having a presence on social media became fashionable. However, many organisations struggled to understand the benefits, and often delegated dealing with social media to the most junior staff. As a result of being treated as an optional, rather frivolous extra, social media activity frequently wasn’t deployed very effectively. A real missed opportunity.

Today, the impact of social media on business, society, entertainment and politics is undeniable. Organisations of all sizes across many industries have brought social media into the heart of their marketing, communication and customer support functions.

But in an ever more crowded social media landscape, it’s not enough to just be present in these spaces any more. Your presence has to make a difference.

That’s where social media strategy comes in: you need to plan how to use social media to create impact.

Over the last 15 years or so, social media has enabled and emphasised two-way communication. It’s now an expected part of many online experiences. Audiences want and expect to get more involved with brands, companies and events, whether it’s to complain, make suggestions, find out about events or recommend the company to others. These interactions enhance and deepen the experience for everyone.

What do you think?

  • Have you seen social media used to help restore a company’s reputation?
  • Do you now spend money with an organisation because of how they use social media?
  • What do you think made the use of social media so effective?
Use the Comments section to share your thoughts.
© University of Leeds
This article is from the free online

Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now