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Social Media: The Most Effective Way to Go

As the saying goes, there are indeed two sides of the coin. The very same goes with social media, which has, in so short a decade, rapidly changed the way people view and avail of media, be it for information dissemination, advocacy, education, or entertainment. With more and more people going online, the most effective way to get one’s message carried across the fastest, most effective way is via social media—the very same virtues that were extolled by prominent filmmakers and social media practitioners who are also active in grassroots advocacy, Jim Libiran and Eloisa Francia. They instilled more social media literacy among cooperators through a webinar titled “Social Media 101: Tips and Tricks to Boost your Online and Media Presence.”


Weighing the Cons and the Pros

First, the cons. Ms. Francia pointed out that social media also has its negative points, all of which are co-related. One is the overwhelming competition from too many social media practitioners, especially when they are focused on particular issues that have become ‘in’ due to getting the most views at a particular moment. Two, there is also negative publicity, of which she cites cases when an unpleasant incident becomes viral, which can harm the reputation of a brand, public figure, or even an organization. Three, social media can be time-consuming, as many people prefer to be glued to it for several hours, thus becoming some sort of addiction.

Yet for all these negative aspects, there are the positive ones, which have proven their merit. Global reach is one, where social media practitioners and aficionados can engage themselves in very meaningful ways, free from all those constraints that transcend boundaries of culture, faith, and preferences. Two, social media is much more cost-effective, as anyone with gadgets, equipped with the right apps, can communicate effectively. Three, Ms. Francia equally stressed that social media is much more cost-effective than traditional media such as print media as it does away with the need for printing, distributing, and storage—as new (good or bad) travels very fast at the touch of the fingers!

Let us also count in real-time and immediate feedback, which also enhances knowledge dissemination,” she enthused. Yet, she also reasoned out the need to instill much more ethics as well as caution before people post their insights, remarks, promos, opinions, and videos, of which she cited the need to: “obtain consent for users before collecting data; be transparent about using one’s data; and to protect the privacy of others.”

On a cheerful note, despite the dilemma of trying to build audiences, Ms. Francia extolled how social media does break those barriers indeed: she cites the case of Jollibee, which is a Filipino brand. She proudly noticed how, thanks to incessant promotions over social media—especially through YouTube–through those flash ads and the like, many Americans also have enjoyed the delights of eating and experiencing Jollibee!


Social Media: The Coop Way

With 95 percent of Filipinos being online via Facebook, this much-loved social media website can also be the most appropriate tool for cooperatives to be online and connect well with others beyond their expectations. “If cooperatives use this in a proper way, this can also provide extra income in promoting what they offer,” strongly noted Direk Jim. “Kayo ang gumawa, yet we (as directors engaged in advocacy projects for grassroots organizations) will guide you,” confidently stressed Direk Jun, ‘at kayang-kaya ninyo.”

In addition to Facebook, Direk Jim also noted the plus points of YouTube as yet another very effective means, thanks to its several plus points that include efficient video sharing—as well as the second-largest search engine after Google, its broad reach with other video contents based on algorithms, its monetization options, vlogging talent and entertainment, and the provision of new ways of tutorials in the academic and DIY fronts. And taken collectively, these plus factors also work well and much more cost-efficient for entities in the cooperative movement, of which members can do themselves without the need of applying add-ons such as talent/advertising agencies which entail exorbitant fees.

Complementing Facebook, of which reports and insights can be shared with friends and followers, YouTube proves its edge—especially when people increasingly prefer to get to know much better the products, services and advocacies through the power of moving images, complete with vivid visuals and first-hand testimonies. Doing video presentations and posting them on both Facebook and YouTube can also generate better recognition—as well as appreciation—in interacting with organizations and policy makers of who have also followed suit with their own online accounts.

“Ang totoong istorya ay galing sa mga totoong tao,” affirmed Direk Jim. This also makes us ponder and agree on how cooperatives, through social media, can widen their reach and make viewer-followers become much more aware of their achievements, products, services, and community-based activities such as humanitarian deeds; their dilemmas and problems that affect their existence tempered with workable solutions they (both as distinct entities and as part of a federation/union and the like) have devised that can set as benchmarks for quality management techniques and best practices; to demonstrate their concepts that are best depicted via moving images—and as an effective and powerful way to convey their identities and images.

“The need for ‘user-experience’ the coop way through soc med is the effective way,” summed up Direk Jim. Which also makes us agree that without those costly add-ons, spontaneity and directness are also keys to successful promoting.





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