Charities and Social Media – can Social Media be used as a source for good works? I was reminded once again this week of the amazing influence that social media can have as a force for good. In summary, by interacting with a local community group on my Facebook news feed I quickly became involved with some ad-hoc charity work. This would simply not have happened as quickly as it did a world without social media. So this led me to ask the question ‘Has social media influenced our life and society in a good way?’ Naturally, as a Social Media Consultant I’m an advocate of its positive influence, but in what other ways is social media ‘good’? ‘It’s for charity, Mate !’ It is clear that not-for-profit organisations are seeing the benefits of using social media for their awareness campaigns. Sites like Facebook and Twitter for example are a cost effective means of spreading the word and getting support. Not to mention socially shared petitions from sites like Change.org which can reach hundreds of thousands of people and have a huge impact on people’s lives. ‘You can feel connected’ Social media has definitely made us feel closer to other parts of the world. We can contact anyone around the world, at any time, with just a few clicks. We can share personal stories, photos of ourselves, friends and families. We can feel connected to another person’s world, even though distance may keep us apart. ‘Knowledge is power’ Social media has made it possible for like minded individuals to discuss important topics, widen their personal knowledge and discover things they never knew before. For example, young people around the world are now more involved than ever in their country’s politics. Social media has contributed to that increase in a big way. ‘You can say what you feel’ There has been a paradigm shift in how people communicate with businesses. Customers can now tell companies how they feel about their products (good or bad), when they feel it, in real time. Before social media, customers could spend hours on phones getting more and more frustrated when they had a problem or complaint. Businesses can then use this information to tailor their products and give their customers exactly what they want. In the past, a business might have had to spend a significant amount for this kind of marketing data. And remember ‘Being good online can mean good business’ People on social networks often gather as an community on the premise that meaningful interactions will be mutually beneficially. LinkedIn for example, can speed up the process of building a professional relationship with your connections. Showing them respect, being nice, being polite are essential for gaining (and keeping) their business. Establishing a reputation as a ‘giver’ with no set agenda other than to serve your connections, friends, and followers will over time reap great rewards So there is no doubt in my mind that there are many reasons why social media is ‘good. So embrace it, do good and know that you will be rewarded eventually , be it through an introduction, a testimonial, or just the simple pleasure in knowing that you’re helping someone. Do you agree? Is social media a good influence is your life ? Let me know your thoughts? About the Author: Louise Brogan is a Social Media Consultant and Owner/Director of Social Bee NI.