If Social Media Can Bring Government and Citizens Together, Think What it Can Do for Small Business: Evaluating a New Jersey Mayor’s Speech

Booker1.jpgNewark Mayor Cory Booker spoke at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas earlier this month about his involvement with social media and the potential for social media to help bring people and government together. Booker’s SXSW session, titled “The New Media Politician,” was a seated discussion with Steven James Snyder, an editor at TIME.com. The topics of discussion ranged from his experiences using social media in office to his future political plans. His remarks, which earned him the designation of “Speaker of the Event,” are applicable to New Jersey businesses, which may also benefit from connecting with consumers and government alike via social media.

Reaching a Wider Audience

With around 1.3 million followers, Booker reaches a far wider audience on Twitter than Newark’s population of around 280,000. This has allowed him to communicate with a broad range of people, and it has allowed news about issues facing Newark, and New Jersey in general, to gain a wide following. Issues like Hurricane Sandy relief have brought New Jersey to the forefront of the nation’s attention in recent months, and social media has been a major driver of information. New Jersey businesses, even those that only do business within their community, can also reach a wider audience via services like Twitter or Facebook. This can lead to new markets, or merely to greater exposure for the company’s product or brand.

“Accountable, Available, and Engaged”

Booker told the crowd that citizens in Newark “expect their mayor to be accountable, available and engaged.” He touted social media as a way to engage people in the political process by giving them a direct line to elected officials. By responding to individuals’ concerns as expressed online, he believes that politicians can give those individuals a greater voice in the political process.

The same could be said for businesses that maintain a social media presence. Customers who can engage directly with businesses in such a way, by making comments or complaints about a product or service, or by responding to requests for ideas or feedback, may feel more connected to, and therefore more loyal to, a business.

This engagement requires both responsibility and accountability, though. The news is filled with stories of businesses that made a problem with a customer worse with an ill-thought or careless response, or by trying to avoid or cover up a problem. Booker mentioned an early tweet that, he admitted, was inappropriate, and which he subsequently deleted. He has since instituted a policy of never deleting anything he posts, regardless of the consequences. Nothing posted online ever truly goes away, and businesses can often make the fallout from a bad social media decision worse by trying to delete or otherwise hide the evidence.

The business attorneys at Samuel C. Berger, P.C., provide skilled and diligent legal representation to New York and New Jersey business owners and entrepreneurs, helping them start, buy, or run their businesses. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to see how we may be of service to you, contact us today online or at (212) 380-8117.

More Blog Posts:

Five Common Mistakes New York and New Jersey Startup Businesses Make, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, July 12, 2012
Five Legal Risks of Social Media for New York and New Jersey Small Businesses, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2012
Marketing, Technology, and Truthfulness for the New York and New Jersey Small Business, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, April 12, 2012
Photo credit: By Bbsrock (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.