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Repustate’s own Diana Szpotowicz sat down with communications expert Kyle Palantzas to discuss all things social. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @kpalantzas

I believe that the best way to learn about how something works is to talk to an expert in that subject. So, to learn how social media is impacting the business world and the personal lives of its users, I picked the brain of a Toronto-based social media strategist, Kyle Palantzas.

Kyle has monitored and implemented social media systems for various companies and clients ranging from daily newspapers to communications companies to recent grads looking to learn how to utilize social media when entering the job market. This post is the first in a series of future interviews with social media pros who have an impact across various industries.

Q: What was your first experience with social media?

Like many other social media users, Palantzas first got into the social media world for his own personal use. Wanting to brand himself as a recent graduate, he used it to get his message out to people and as a tool to network. Having since used social media channels for business, he said it’s really those companies who use it who will actually resonate with customers today, with a more valid message. “When a company throws a marketing ad out to the world through Twitter, the audience responds. More and more people put their stamp of approval on that ad as it goes viral,” he said.

Q: How have businesses changed the way they’ve use social media?

Over the last few years, Palantzas said he’s noticed that businesses have switched from a mass-marketing approach to a targeted campaign geared towards a specific audience.

“If they put something on Twitter, they can gear their message to their followers in the hopes it will get re-tweeted and spread. Ads are getting more creative, some ads are disguised not to be ads,” he said, “even when a business’s name pops up on someone’s Facebook newsfeed that in itself is an instant advertisement.” Palantzas said social media is the way of the future, and “it’s a big disadvantage to not have it. You stick out like a sore thumb as people almost expect you to have it now.”

Q: In your opinion, what industry really needs to use social media?

Looking to his own experience in communications, he said the world of journalism especially needs to have a strong social media impact (because remember that at the end of the day a newspaper is a business first and foremost.) “People aren’t reading newspapers as much so they need another way to get information,” he said. Readers want small bits of news as opposed to reading a traditional-length article at 400 or 500 words.

Q: Will companies always need to create a social media strategy from now on?

Palantzas said that it’s just the beginning when it comes to social media. “I don’t think social media will be pushed aside by society. I think it’ll be a foundational piece in marketing and strategy,” he said. According to Palantzas, the only thing that could falter its growth is if any future laws come into play that are very restrictive in terms of online privacy. However, in the future he sees more websites saturating the social media sphere. “Now that people see there is a huge multi-billion business, there will be more sites and more competition. Look at the sites that are already starting to compete, like Google with Google Plus,” he said.

Q: Final thoughts on the way companies use social media?

“Social media is free and easy to use. The overhead is nothing so why wouldn’t a business have it,” Palantzas asked. He said that that when he acquires a new project or client the first thing he does is check out how they are doing in the social media world. If a company doesn’t use it or doesn’t update their pages very frequently, he said it’s like “watching a bad commercial. There’s no excuse for not updating.”

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