How Social Media Is at the Epicenter of Ideas

How an Idea Can Spread Like Wildfire on Social Media

By Kate Newman

Whether active or not, everyone’s life is influenced by social media. Millions of people interact online constantly, including media, journalists, businesses, influencers and professionals, making social media inextricably intertwined within today’s world. Apps like TikTok, Facebook, X (new Twitter), Instagram and LinkedIn have transformed into virtual hubs for exchange and disseminating ideas – with newcomer Threads entering full steam. All of them enable ideas to spread quickly among the masses with the potential to catapult any brand from unnoticed to notorious in a relative instant.

After a century of traditional media channels’ monopoly on what information was shared, disseminating information, and who controlled the narratives broadcast to the public through news and advertising, social media and the interactive web arrived and, almost overnight, changed the dynamic. Suddenly, anyone from any walks of life could express their unique viewpoints, challenge the controlled discourse and create their own audience.

Given this democratization of two-way information sharing, social media now provides the most human way for brands to connect with their audiences. It provides the only space where people can actually interact and converse with a brand, both privately and publicly. Today’s audiences can pass along the things that excite, inspire, intrigue and even mystify them. They can debate others. They can contribute to conversations and they can contribute to conversations and quickly become an integral part of a brand’s voice. And as people relate to brands, brands can relate right back.

Today’s social media environment puts the largest focus group at every brand’s fingertips to test new ideas, both micro and macro.

For example, Kraft Heinz famously tweeted a poll asking if Americans wanted Mayochup when it didn’t even exist in the United States. At face value, this was a simple piece of content: 94 characters that created a poll featuring two existing products and a mock-up of the combination. Yet, posted on Twitter, millions were able to interact, respond and share the poll immediately, and the idea took off like wildfire. In 48 hours, this single tweet racked up 1 billion impressions and resulted in the fast-tracked development and release of Mayochup on shelves across American grocery stores.

Some ideas may not even begin on social media but end up there. For instance, this “Married a Farmer” print ad for Pioneer® seeds was created and published to champion the changing face of the modern farmer. After its release, someone took a snapshot and posted it on social media. Almost immediately, shares and positive reactions among farmers, their families and even Pioneer’s competitors sent the image viral.

All of the buzz proves that, if the message is powerful and deeply engaging to an audience, it can create its own energy, spreading and magnifying its impact.

Finally, even brick-and-mortar settings have adapted their spaces to become more “social-able.” With a few clever design choices, any retailer can benefit from the rapid spread of information on social media. For instance, someone launching a new restaurant may roll out an Instagram channel with images that capture the mood and vibe of the restaurant, stirring anticipation before they even open their doors. They also may enhance the physical space with elements like neon signs or unique wallpapers that become attractive backdrops for diners to snap and post a photo or short video to share their dining experience. As their social followers see the posts and watch the videos, it builds a snowball effect of more posting and sharing, spreading the restaurant’s appeal both locally and to potential tourists.

Whether testing out an idea, making a social media post the center of an idea or designing a space that’s appealing for social sharing, the inclusivity and shareability of content through social channels can lead to richer brand experiences. Strategically planning how to make a piece of content matter enough that people will want to engage and share it is where our experts come in! Talk with us about how we can help your business get known and noticed on social media.

About the Author

Kate Newman has nearly 10 years of experience leading and implementing social media strategies to help businesses connect with audiences and grow their footprint online. She has led social strategy development for Fortune 500 companies across CPG, food, appliance and technology categories — and her most notable clients include Jimmy Dean, BP, CDW, Kimberly-Clark baby and child care brands, and SC Johnson’s Raid and OFF! brands, as well as Whirlpool and Maytag. Her motivation and collaborative spirit help deliver strong breakthrough social content for her clients’ businesses, and she has expertise spanning across 10 social media networks. What’s Kate’s M.O.? To make your brand or business relevant through social media.